It's hard to be apart from my husband. When he's away, I remember how much I love and miss him. When he's home and driving me bonkers, I think about the fact that soon he'll be gone again and I'll be missing him like crazy. He does really awesome things for me when he's home like taking out the trash (because that bag ALWAYS gets stuck in the can), bringing me iced tea before bed, reminding me to charge my laptop at night--or just plugging it in for me, and calling me every single day on the way home from work to ask if I need anything, just like his Dad does for his Mom. I miss those things a lot when he's gone.
But the hardest part is when I hear
"When is Dad coming home?"
Because even if the answer is "Tomorrow," it still means one more day they have to miss him. And they start asking the question the same day he leaves. While I love what my husband does, and the kids thinks it's completely awesome, that doesn't mean it makes it easy for him to be away. Regardless of how often it is, the duration of the absence, or how much time he's had at home between travels, missing him is hard for all of us. I'm on pretty good authority that he finds it difficult as well.
This is what we do, though. This is the family we've made and the life we've chosen. So, when he's gone, we'll get up each morning and we'll go about our day. We'll have breakfast and think about what Dad is having for breakfast. We'll hear the planes overhead and talk about how it's so cool that Daddy jumps out of them sometimes. We'll start to get antsy about the time he'd typically come and they will ask "Is Dad on his way home?" I'll remind them that Daddy is away. And it continues all evening. Before they go to sleep they ask me again, "Mom, when is Dad coming home?"
Soon, boys. When they ask me that question, I just say "Soon."
If you know a military family, think of them tonight when you tuck your kids into bed. Even if their servicemember is home right now, there's a good chance at some point they won't be home for awhile. And the kids will start asking "When?" That's a tough question to answer for the parent tucking them in to their superhero sheets.