A Hard Lesson Learned


This week, my daughters found the CDs I burned for Hubs while he was deployed.  These CDs contained pieces and parts of video footage and still photos shot throughout his deployment that I painstakingly edited and burned for his viewing pleasure.

I'm not proud of what I saw, but I'm willing to share my Mom guilt with all of you in the hopes that you'll learn from my mistake.

I have two girls.  M1 was going on 5 when Hubs was deployed.  M2 had just turned 1.  Because M2 is Hubs' first child 'from scratch' as I like to say (M1 is my daughter from a previous marriage), the idea of him missing any of her milestones appalled me.  Kids do a ton of changing and growing between birth and turning 1 and almost an equal amount of amazing growing and learning between 1 and 2.  I was determined M2 would remember her Daddy and the Hubs would feel connected to her milestones so he didn't come home to a little stranger.

I became a woman obsessed.

In watching these videos, I find myself spending an inordinate amount of time concentrating on M2.  M1 has some face time, but not nearly as much as M2.  At the time, I remember thinking that M1 wouldn't forget Hubs, she could speak with him on the phone and even write notes or read his notes.  Sadly, what I didn't realize is that now that she is 8, I would LOVE to have hours of her on video at age 5. 

Additionally, the closer M2 would come to a milestone like walking or saying a certain word, the more agitated I would become if M1 would try to "help" M2 by saying the word for her or breaking M2's concentration and distracting her from trying to take a step unassisted.  Typical sisterly stuff, but I am seriously surprised at how ridiculously adamant I became about capturing all of M2's moments for Hubs.  I certainly accomplished that narrow mission, but in the process, my tunnel vision robbed me of some precious moments of M1, I'm sure.

Aside from my own personal embarrassment at this outcome, I had to sit down and try to explain to M1 why it was that M2 shows up in so many scenes.  Of course, I have hours of M1 on video at that age too (which she has happily been viewing!), but it isn't the same.  M1 is very understanding, but I can't hide my disappointment that I don't have more M1 time on film too.

Of course, since Hubs has been home, I've probably had the video camera out a total of four or five times.  I simply CANNOT think of all the moments I've missed...too depressing...but I never imagined in trying to help preserve memories for Hubs I might actually miss so much.

Has anyone else experienced a disappointment after deployment similar to this?  As in, you set out to do something and did it only to realize after the deployment that your mission was too narrow in scope?

Hindsight is 20/20, but that doesn't dim the Mom Guilt one bit.

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