Friday, August 31, 2018

When Your Kid Grows Up While Daddy is Away

This is Dannika when we first moved here to College Station. She was 5 years old, and had just started Kindergarten.

This is Dannika today. She is 9 years old, and just starting 4th grade.

Today is the first time I looked at Dannika and thought, "Oh my gosh! She is really a 'big' girl!" Since 3rd grade, she is significantly more mature. She has grown so much emotionally, physically, and mentally. It's hard to grasp that she is the same little girl in the first photo. 

During parent orientation for third grade (last year), I remember her teacher saying that "3rd grade is when they seem to grow the most." I nodded in agreement, and went on with my life. But in the blink of an eye, it happened. I looked at Dannika today, and realized that she is a completely different girl than she was a year ago. She is SO much more mature. I can leave her at home alone (with Mattis) for an 1-2 hours during the day while I run errands, go to the gym, etc. If Mattis is misbehaving, she texts me from her iPad. She sets her own alarm in the mornings. She picks out her own clothes. She's like a miniature grown up. 

If you keep up with my life, you know that Nick has even gone since September of last year. He's come home for most holidays, but for the most part, he has been living in a different state than us. This is nothing new for our family. As a military family, I have spent more time alone than with my husband due to his (and my) commitment to the Marine Corps. Nick missed countless holidays and milestones in our family because of the Marine Corps. But, this year...has been the hardest. You would think that him being in combat would be the hardest, but honestly, it wasn't. I think when he was in Afghanistan, I went into "la la land". I refused to believe the conditions he was in, and refused to think that he could possibly not come home. I lived in my safe bubble, to protect my heart from the possible worst news...every military wife's worst nightmare...the "knock at the door". 

Thinking about Dannika today just made me so sad that Nick missed an entire year of her life when she did so much growing. We did our best to make him a part of our life while he was away through phone calls and FaceTime, but it's never enough. He's not home for dinner time shenanigans, bath times, bedtime conversations, family movie nights, family game nights, ice cream dates, etc. etc. etc. I can go on and on. But my heart is most broken of the fact that he missed this entire year that our daughter grew so much.

I know it doesn't get easier. Everyone keeps reminding me that puberty is on the horizon, and that I need to enjoy this time while she likes me. But I can't think about the horrors of puberty as a military wife. Our "right now" sucks because we've been apart from the better half of our family (and trust me...Nick is the better half...I'm a hot mess). 

Anyway, regardless of all of this "blog vomit", I know that our life as a military family is for God's glory. Although, my prayers sometimes consist of a lot of "why me" and "you must hate me", I have comfort in knowing that I am the daughter of a King who allows me to be mad at Him. He allows me to yell at Him. He allows me to use Him as a "punching bag". And yet...He still chooses to love me, pursue me, comfort me, and be my friend. 

"I can never escape from your Sprit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there." (Psalm 139:7-8)

I hope everyone has an awesome Labor Day Weekend! Follow me at on Instagram @SemperAg_blog , and message me!

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