We both just kept putting it off. I don’t know that it was intentional; but it ended up ok. Funny enough, we checked the mail on our way home that evening and had a bunch of packages from my sister. She sent us two HUGE maps; one of the U.S. and one of the whole world. It was perfect timing. Jeremy and I both laughed at each other and decided we would tell Coop after dinner when Chase was taking a nap.
So, after dinner we got Coop in his jammies and pulled out the ice cream. Why? Because all bad news should be broken over ice cream. Like a spoon full of sugar…helping the medicine go down!
Sorry, that was cheesy…I’ll try and avoid Mary Poppin references for the remainder of this post.
Anyway, we got the maps out and then Jeremy did most of the talking. He reminded Cooper that he is in the Army and is a soldier and talked about the kinds of things soldiers do (help people). And he said that everyone in the Army has to take turns doing trips to help people far away-people who don’t have the nice things we have like freedom. (We explained freedom to him too.)
Then he told Cooper that it was Daddy’s turn to go far away and that he would be going with the other Daddys too. (Coop’s friends’ daddys) He explained that he would be gone a looooong time and would probably miss some special things. We’ve been drilling something into Cooper for almost a year now; whenever mommy or daddy go away, we always come back. So we reminded him that while it would be a long time, Daddy will come back; once to visit us and then for good.
Cooper was oblivious. He did not get it;we are almost positive. I mean he understood what we said at face value, but it didn’t connect to his heart. He was really adorable sitting in his chair at the table, kicking his legs back and forth, scooping up his ice cream and saying cheerfully, “Uh-huh!”. It was heart-melting, especially considering what we were telling him.
In all actuality though, we are glad he didn’t make the head-to-heart connection with what we were telling him. It helped our own hearts. We were so convinced we were going to crush his tender heart. We cried almost every night this week over it. So to have him not really get it was a relief.
It enabled us to talk about it and get it on the table as a conversation piece so that we can KEEP talking about it out in the open rather than in code like we’ve been speaking. And it already worked; this morning when Cooper woke up, Jeremy was gone. He went to a “guys day” with some friends (breakfast, golf, etc). Cooper woke up asking for Daddy and came in our room looking for him. He very non-chalantly asked about the big airplane Daddy went on to go far away. I laughed and said, “not yet buddy”.
So now, I know he at least knows that Daddy is going to go away. I am glad we can start talking about it and glad Cooper has time to formulate some questions in his head and heart as he works this out. I think he needs time to let it sit just like we do!
Thank you so much for all your prayers over this. They were felt and we are so incredibly grateful. We’ve got several more weeks until it all starts to happen so fast we won’t have time to process stuff. So in the mean time, this calm before the storm is welcomed.