Brian is working as a shuttle driver for the Olympic Sliding Center up in Whistler. Which means my editor/co-writer has been gone for 19 days now and my hands are full with these little monkeys. And hands full of monkeys are not good at typing.
I'm not totally alone. My parents are helping out with the girls, which we really appreciate, but we really miss our Papa.
Trudy and Otis are also stir crazy from missing their late night dog park visits with Brian. I've realized how much of a burden he lifts off me by making sure they're well cared for.
I'm not sure how much Brian's absence is impacting Kaleia, but I can definitely see it in Magnolia, even though she is too young to tell me. For the first week or so she was eager to talk to Papa on the phone. Now she refuses, backing away from the little device muttering "Papa home." Except for the other night, she initiated a pretend phone call to him. When I asked her what Papa said she answered, "Laba you." Melt my heart.
A video message we sent Papa
Then yesterday she was playing with a hollow plastic Easter egg. Maggie looked at me and said, "Papa." What? You popped it open? No, she confirmed, "Papa." While I sat pondering what this piece of plastic had to do with her absent Papa, I watched her open the egg, pretend to remove something from it and bring her fingers to her lips. "Tisses."
My floodgates opened. Memories of Brian giving her kisses for her pockets flew to mind. For the next few minutes she continued to replenish the supply.
I hear about service men and women that are deployed for significant periods of time. Brian met an Olympic luger the other day who hasn't seen his wife and 19-month-old since October. I don't know how families do it. They miss so much. They are so missed.
Our next separation is a short five months away when Brian heads down to California for his summer term in grad school. I don't think I will ever get used to it, but at least I'm learning some strategies to make it more bearable. I think Brian might need to fill a whole basket of those Easter eggs.