For several months, He of the Sea and I have gradually started discussing his upcoming "big trip" with our children. There were a few questions and moments of concern, but I thought that they were handling it pretty well and taking their cues from our positive attitude. Honestly, after Daddy's last big trip, this one should be a piece of cake. I truly believe this and thought that my kids had bought into it also.
One day last week, we were talking about something that would happen while Daddy was gone. Suddenly, as if stunned, my eight year old daughter asked, "Is Daddy being DEPLOYED?"
With that comment, the attitude changed. There were morequestions than before, and they weren't being asked in the same lighthearted manner. We proceeded through the discussion and while I tried to givethem happy answers, the conversation didn't end cheerfully.
The next day, I asked my daughter about this. I asked if using that word, deployment, made a difference to her. She said that it absolutely did. Big trips are fun and full of adventure, deployments are dangerous and sad. I hadn't thought about it this way before. We'd always just called them big trips because that seemed easier for a two year old to understand, and we kept the vocabulary consistent as the children have grown. The word deployment seemed so long, so hard to pronounce, and so hard to understand. Big trip was short, easy to pronounce and easy to understand. I'm starting to realize that maybe I'd avoided the word deployment for exactly the reasons that it upsets my daughter.
I'm not sure where this big trip is taking us, but I think we just hit a road block. Now it is time to get out the map and find a new route to help my children as they travel through another Navy adventure.