don’t count your chickens.

After eight years in this Army life, you think I would have learned not to count my chickens before they’ve hatched. I suppose I needed a reminder. I got a message yesterday that said Andrew would not be coming home today, as planned- that they extended their time in the field.

While it was a let down, I guess I wasn’t too surprised. “You’re not coming home? Roger that. I’ll put the steak into the freezer. Keep calm and soldier on for just a little while longer.” As an Army wife, you really do get used to the delays, the changing timelines. It is a part of the life. You never know when Mother Army will decide she needs you husband more than you do. And she always gets what she wants.

But this set back brought with it one of my first little hurdles as a parent of an Army brat. You see, this is the first time we explained to Madeline what to expect with Andrew’s absence- “Daddy’s going into the woods for this many days, and he’ll be back this day.” Each night I’d say to her, “Just x more wake-ups until Daddy comes home!”

I’m sure most would say the easy solution would be to just sweep it under the rug. Pretend I hadn’t said anything at all about when he’d return. Stop mentioning how many more wake-ups. She’s just a baby. She wouldn’t understand anyway, right?

But with Madeline, I’m not so sure. Although she hasn’t honed her verbal skills yet, she has an amazing grasp on aural language. She is an extremely tuned-in and empathetic little girl. And while she can’t express her concerns with words, her behavior speaks volumes. Clinginess, whininess, snuggling during the day, looking for just one more book at bedtime. This is a girl who is trying to fill in the gaps while her Dad is away.

She may not be old enough to ask where he is or why, but I never want to leave her wondering. So I told her that he isn’t coming home today. He’ll be home soon though. It won’t be a long time. She furrowed her brow and looked me right in the eyes for a few seconds, and then she went back to playing. I left it at that.

My heart broke a little for her then, but I know the moment he walks through the door she will bounce right back. That’s the best part about her being so young- she doesn’t resent him for being gone. She just accepts it. And when he’s home again, it’s like he never left.

In the future, perhaps I’ll keep things a little more vague when he’s gone, so she doesn’t end up hurt if the plans change. But perhaps I won’t, because our little Army brat continues to prove how strong and adaptable she truly is.


  1. […] to the flag. She says bye-bye to her daddy any time he walks out of a room, probably because she has missed him for more than a quarter of her life (20+ weeks away at training/schools/Army stuff since she was […]

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