I don't claim to be a pro at handling myself or my kids during deployments. I am, however, living it right now and pro or not, I thought that I would share a few of my tips and tricks.
1. We have a 'Kisses From Daddy' jar. In the beginning, the plan was to let the girls have one Hershey kiss chocolate before bed, but now they are allowed to have one whenever they ask. It has turned into something that they do when they feel a little extra sad about him being gone.
2. For Christmas, they each got a small Disney princess calendar that we now look at ALMOST every night. I show them today, tomorrow, any special occasions coming up and when daddy is coming home. I'm not sure how much they understand at 4 years old, but they see the days going by and I think that helps.
3. The girls have a 5x7 picture of them with their daddy in their bedroom. Each night they are allowed to tell him one exciting thing that happened to them that day and kiss the picture. They love that!
4. It's important to me that I let the girls see me get sad. It's nothing major, but I think it opens up a line of communication. They will give me a hug and I will explain that I miss daddy and then I ask them how they are feeling. This usually ends in a lot of snuggling and lots of coloring pages for daddy.
5. We watch a lot of home videos. Some are from when the twins were little, other from his most recent trip home (October) and one very special one that he sent to us from out at sea.
6. We started a new one recently. I bought a boring old notebook and I like to ask the girls what they are looking forward to when daddy comes home. What are they excited to do with him? We write down things like go to the beach, ride bikes, pack a picnic, build a sand castle, go to the movies. Now when Johnathon gets home, we can slowly start checking things off of our list.
Like I said, I may not know it all, but I know enough to get through it.
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My mom is healing very well after her surgery. Hopefully she will get her pathology results back tomorrow and we will know what our next step should be.