Dearest Daughter:
Your Dad called me during lunch today, just like he always does.  Except this call was different.  Today, he let me know that he’ll be going on a 6 month deployment soon.  It should have been expected, but it was not.  Personally, I’m at an impasse’.  Being an adult, I know that we’re one of the lucky ones.  6 months is relatively not that long.  I mean, just yesterday we were celebrating the New Year, and it’s already November.  But then…. I thought of you.

You’re my oldest, we’ve been through many of these together.  I attribute how responsible you are to having lots thrown on your shoulders by our lifestyle.  You see… I know that you’ll be who I lean on the most to help our family- me and your brothers- get through this time.  It makes me proud of you, and sad for you at the same time.  When you were younger, I don’t think you understood the gravity of what Dad does for a living.  It was “cool”.  He was “fighting the bad guys”.  These days, you’re very much attuned to what’s going on in the world.  Often you ask me if I’ve heard about world news before I get a chance to share it with you.  So, I’m worried that this time will affect you differently from the rest.  You are one of the most resilient people I know, yet the weight of KNOWING and UNDERSTANDING mixed with school, exams and your innate ability to always recognize when I need help may…  it may all be too much.

I’ll need you to talk to me, to tell me when it’s too much.  I’ll need you to recognize for yourself when you need help, and not be too concerned with me that you hold things inside.  You know that I have a tendency to run on Auto Pilot when it’s just us and the boys.  So, I’ll need your help to tell me to turn it off, and tune in to you.  I want you to know you can cry with me, that we can pray together.  I’ll need you to remember your faith.  Please stay the strong girl that you are, but realize that even the strong have moments of weakness.

The next few months will be hard; perhaps the hardest for you.  Both Dad and I have tremendous faith in your abilities and know that you’ll handle it seamlessly.  Because that’s what you do and who you are.  We’ll get through all of it together- your first real exams, your 13th birthday, your first band concert.  No one will be more proud of you than me.  Well, maybe your Dad.


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