It’s amazing how close my husband and son have become in the last two months. My son waits for him at the door when he hears the garage door go up. He shouts, “Ball!” when he sees the soccer ball my husband loves to kick around with him and he wants his father to read him stories at bedtime.
My husband just returned from eight months in Afghanistan.
When he left, our son was almost one. When I drove off base, tears streaming down my face, my son was looking at a book, not at all understanding what was happening. While my husband was gone, our son turned one. He learned how to walk. Then, he learned how to run. He started talking.
The first week my husband was home, his usual calm demeanor was replaced by almost constant excitement. “Wow! He can do that?” he kept saying.
In the last two months, my husband has taught our son things I never even thought of. For instance, now my son knows how to climb in and out of his booster seat, (I don’t know if I thought I’d just put him in and take him out forever). Now he knows how to stay with us in stores so we don’t always need the stroller. My husband plays cars and trains and kisses stuffed animals. It’s so cute. He’s very involved.
But the first year – before the deployment – things were a bit different. My husband would disappear upstairs for an hour after work and come down after he had “alone” time. But ever since his return, he doesn’t even take his uniform off until our son goes to bed. He’s too busy chasing him around the kitchen or playing soccer in the house.
The other day, I brought this to my husband’s attention. “You seem so much more in tune to his needs now than you ever have before,” I said. “It’s awesome, but what changed? Before the deployment, I wasn’t sure you were really connecting with him, but now you seem to almost anticipate his every need.”
My husband smiled. “He’s my boy,” he said simply, proudly.