This morning my girls were captivated as their daddy appeared on the computer screen. He had recorded videos of himself reading books that our children love, so that he could read them stories even while he is away. We made one for each anticipated week that he will be away, and I will release a new one on Sunday even though I realize that if he is gone extra weeks in training it will mean that they miss him all the more without a new "book" to sustain them.
Sunday is a special day in our family, and one that we all look forward to. We love our church and Sunday means we are going to worship together and learn new lessons from God's teaching through our amazing pastor. So I chose this day as the "video release" day, a day we all look forward to and a day that is not likely to pass by without notice like perhaps Wednesday would.
I set up the first video, gathered my daughters to me on the couch, and pressed play. "This book is called Zinnia's Garden," he began, and both girls leaned a little closer to the screen. Each time he paused, Piglet wiggled which is her way of saying, "Again, again!" She will be eleven months old tomorrow, and this is the first time she has been away from her daddy for more than a few hours. She is thoroughly a momma's girl ... but she misses him and was glad to see his face appear on the screen. Teenybop in the innocence and joy that is her six-year-old way ... she kept leaning toward the screen each time he would pause and she would shout, "Thank you Daddy!" She was disappointed when I told her it was pre-recorded and that he didn't hear her, that he'd been here still when he made these with her very own books from her bedroom.
Both my children have very limited attention spans, Teenybop because her ADHD limits her so severely and Piglet because she has not yet had enough time to develop hers. But they both sat still, watching. When it was over, Teenybop ran to her room to find her copy of the book so that next time she could read along, while Piglet clapped her hands and smiled, still looking at the now-still image of her father.
They will both watch this video many times throughout the week, and be thrilled to see the next one when Sunday rolls around again ... and once again I will watch their excited with both joy and sadness. Joyful because they have these videos to watch, because he took the time to make them ... but so sad because my daughters only see their daddy this way, while he is gone.
We miss him terribly.