It's becoming real now. We have dates. We have ideas. We have shopping to do. We have plans to make. It's so very real...and I'm sure it will only become "more real" (if that's possible) as we get closer and then finally pass the deployment day.
To help ease the pain and hurt of being without Daddy, we have a few things planned for the boys. I'm working on creating a book of memories and photos of each boy with Matt. When they are missing their daddy, we'll get our their "Daddy Books" and they'll have pictures and memories to remember him. This weekend, I will be decorating picture frames with each boy. Then I'll make a collage photo for each of them to give in the frame to Matt before he leaves.
Before Matt leaves, we're also going to go to Build-A-Bear to create a "Daddy Bear". Matt will help each boy stuff them and then he'll record a saying to put inside. Each night when the boys go to sleep, they will be able to hug their bear and say "Good Night" to their father.
The last thing we're doing before Matt leaves is spending time, just the four of us, at a waterpark. Had we known Matt was deploying, we wouldn't have gone a few weeks ago to Castaway Bay. This time we're going to Great Wolf Lodge. We got a special room (at a great military rate) so the two days/night should be very special for them.
While their gone, I have a few things planned to help mark each "one-more-month-down day". The 28th of each month, we'll be sending Matt a package. It will be filled with his magazines and mail that comes, cards and notes from me and the boys, his favorite snacks or treats, and photos. Then we'll go do something special to mark that day; a special dinner out or a trip to the bowling alley or Chuck E' Cheese. I can already see the awkwardness as the hostess asks "Are we celebrating anything special today?" and Payton replies "YES! My Daddy's been gone 3 months!" Hmm...I may have to talk to him about that.
I've been blessed enough with so much support and a few great ideas on how to ease this transition for them. Now if anyone has any ideas for on how to make it easier on me, just let me know...