My husband travels a lot for work. The time we spend apart is even more acutely felt now that we're parents. We have two young kids—an almost two-year-old and an almost four-year-old—who are starting to notice and feel his absences more.
It's hard on all of us.
But even with all the time apart, I'm still continuously bowled over by what an incredible father and partner he is.
He's in the military. That sentence might make you think of long deployments, handwritten letters, and homecoming ceremonies littered with waving flags and smiling faces. We've certainly experienced those—several, actually. When my husband left for his last deployment, I was seven months pregnant with our son. When he returned, I was carrying a nearly eight-month-old baby along with my welcome home sign.
But military families routinely spend time apart, even without deployments. There are field and training exercises meant to maintain troop readiness. Sometimes, they last just for a night or two. Other times, they might take your loved one to a new state or country for weeks or months at a time.
Your partner can also be assigned to another job or duty station away from where you and your children live. These assignments can last weeks or months, too.
Sometimes, your partner might simply have a job that requires a lot of travel. That's where we are right now. My husband has traveled nearly every week for the past five or six months. It's definitely preferable to a deployment, don't get me wrong. He's home for weekends and I know he's not in danger. But the distance and travel are hard, especially with young kids.
Because they're starting to notice. And ask questions about why he's not here. Like I said, it's hard on all of us.
I'm not worried, though. Sure, there are days and nights when the kids are sick, the appliances break, and I'm desperately wishing for a second set of hands in our house. But I'm not worried for our kids.
My husband is an incredible dad, even when he's away.
Our kids might remember the days he wasn't here, but I know they'll remember how present and loving he was when home.
They'll remember how he gets down to their level, wrestling and rolling and playing in ways that I just don't.
They'll remember how calm he stays through every tantrum, his patience outlasting their outsized emotions.
They might remember the nights he wasn't here, but they'll definitely remember the nights he was—how tenderly he carries them back to bed or pulls them up into ours with a big bear hug.
They'll remember all the runs and wagon rides and errands he takes them on, both to bond with them and to give me some quiet time alone.
They'll remember his jokes and happy energy—and how he's always interested in what they have to show him.
They'll remember how deeply he loves them.
When our kids grow up, they might remember that their dad traveled a lot for work. But I know in my heart, they'll definitely remember what an incredible father he was when home.