Long Distance Love (toddler style)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
This is my first real experience with having a child and dealing with the distance that comes with being a military family. Ava is almost two and I think the longest she has ever been away from her dad is probably four weeks? Maybe less? This time around is definitely harder, but we have found ways to keep daddy in the loop even while he's gone. The most important part of keeping him in our everyday lives, is keeping him in sights. Ava totes around a daddy doll constantly and it has Justin's picture in it. She can give her daddy doll kisses, hugs, and that's her favorite snuggly when she goes down for bed each night. When I ask her where daddy is, she points to his picture inside the doll. That has definitely helped quite a bit with the temporary separation.

I'm pretty thankful for the active technology in our lives, as this is where a bulk of our communication comes from. Justin and I both have iPhones, so FaceTime has been a god sent as well. Ava knows how to push the right buttons to dial her dad, and she tries pretty regularly. Phone calls are another huge benefit for us. I hand Ava the phone and she says, "Hi Daddy!" each time she hears Justin's voice. It's the sweetest thing ever, and I love that she gets excited when she's on the phone with him. I have about a million videos of Justin and Ava from the time she was born, and on the days where she says daddy a lot, I let her watch the videos. She laughs, she points, and she knows that's her daddy.

She also loves going through my scrapbook and looking at pictures of our family before we had her. There are a ton of photos of Justin and I from our first couple years of marriage. She kisses those pictures, giggles, and really enjoys when I talk her through each page. Other than that, I just make sure to mention and talk about her daddy every single day. There isn't a day that goes by that we don't talk to him or talk about him actively. I'm not afraid that she'll forget him in his brief absence, but I think it helps her understand that he's still with us, even if he isn't tangible right now. The first week he left was pretty rough for both of us (even the dog), but now we have our mama/Ava bug routine down pat, and I'm glad to see my girl is doing okay.

As for this mama, emails and late night texts have been my go to. I love being able to email my husband because he can read it at any time and I can write and say as much as I want to. Even if I know he can't text me back, sometimes I'll shoot him a text when I am thinking about him, and that definitely helps me when I'm really missing him. Justin and I are both pretty influenced by music, so I've found a lot of different songs that kind of explain how I'm feeling or love songs that I want Justin to listen to. I would totally snail mail if I knew that he'd actually receive the letter prior to him getting ready to head back home. The best part of this entire situation is that we are not dealing with deployment. I'm able to stay calm, not-so-worried, and optimistic, because I know he's safe. Definitely the biggest saving grace in our situation.

Ava and her daddy the day before he left. 

How many of my readers are apart of a military family? Are you without your spouse right now? Comment below or send me an email giving me some of the methods you use to make the distance a little more bearable.

Happy Tuesday all!

♥- Leilani

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