He misses her

Thursday, March 6, 2014
I really like having all this extra time on my hands to sit down and blog. You have no idea how many drafts I'll start, but totally space on because I don't have the time to finish them. This past week has been filled with some crazy strong emotions.. these emotions are not my own, they are my husband's. I know how much Justin loves Ava, but I never imagined that him being in the field would cause him to get so upset. Since Ava was eight days old he's been home with us pretty much every single day (like normal people). Justin was the first person to see Ava bug roll over, he was the first person to feed her solid foods, and he was the first person to see her crawl. He's been present for all of her milestones, and we are so grateful for that. I think this time away is really hitting him hard. Although Ava hasn't hit any new milestones since he left, he isn't around her at all. He hasn't been able to kiss her goodnight, or give her vitamin d (that's daddy's job). He hasn't been able to play on the floor or tickle her little toes.

I find myself emailing him videos, sending about fifteen photos a day, and talking as frequently as his schedule will allow. Whenever Ava sees her daddy's face, she lights up. I know she probably doesn't understand that daddy is gone, but she definitely knows who her daddy is. Sometimes, I'll put the phone to her ear, and she can hear Justin telling her how much he loves her. That breaks my heart. Ava starts going crazy and saying "Da Da" She knows his voice and face, and it really is a joy to see the connection they have. The sacrifice of being married to someone in the service continues. It was one thing for me to sacrifice time with my husband, it's a completely different story when it's my child who has to sacrifice. I am starting to gain some clarity with Justin's decision to get out of the Army. Each time I think about it, I start to get even more comfortable with the idea of Justin doing anything else.

He gave me a scenario that he never wants to face. He said, "If I were to stay in the Army, I'd always be gone. I'd have to leave, and miss out on so much. It breaks my heart thinking about that phone call I'd have to have with Ava." Ava would say, "Daddy, why aren't you home? Who's going to get the monsters under my bed daddy?" I waited until we got off the phone to cry. I couldn't believe he said that. My husband is such a great father, and the fact that he's willing to change his entire career path for the sake of being with his family, there are no words. Stability is definitely important, but the Army isn't the only way to have that. It's so important for our family to spend as much time together as possible. I can only imagine how Justin is going to be when he comes home from the field. I bet he won't want to put her down. The sad thing is, after he returns from the field, he'll be leaving us for another month. The bonus this time? He'll be home for the weekends.

Moving forward, I hope two years from now, my husband is a civilian. I don't want any future Howland kiddos to miss out on time with their daddy. I don't want Justin to miss another pregnancy, I don't want Ava to have to lose anymore time with her dad. I know in the grand scheme of things, a lot of military kids probably lose out on even more time with their parents than Ava, but time lost is still time lost. I can't wait to have him home. I know he's out there "safe" and just training, but this feels too much like deployment for me. Alright, I'm done being a sad sap! I turn 23 tomorrow, and I plan on living it up.. Well one glass of wine, and a slice of red velvet cake would be my definition of that.

I can't wait until Daddy is home to read Ava her daily story.

Happy Thursday all! 

If you're a Washingtonian, PLEASE drive safe and stay dry.

♥- Leilani

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