Dearest Little Man:
I love watching you play.  No one I know has your mind, your creativity, your thought process.  Today, I’ve paid extra special attention to how much you desire to be like your Dad.  It’s no secret that he is your favorite parent, although you’d never actually say that aloud.  It’s okay, he’s a great Dad.  You both have things in common and love things that I’ll never understand.  So many young boys don’t get to grow up with their Dad as a daily life force, so I want you to treasure it.  I sure do.

I’ve paid extra special attention to your relationship today…because I am aware that soon, you are going to be missing him.  “Missing him” doesn’t even sound like a big enough word.  You see, you are the one that checks the window every time you hear a car on our street.  You listen for that garage door to open and that sound draws you downstairs and out the door before he can make it into the driveway.  You ask every few minutes “Hey Dad, when are you coming upstairs?”, so that you can bond over Transfomers, video games and sports.

He is truly your best friend.
And your best friend will be leaving soon for 6 months.
And it’s going to be tough on you without him.

The last time he went on a deployment this long, you were knee-high to a grasshopper.  You certainly don’t remember it.  But now, at age 9, I’m sure that this is going to turn your world upside down.  I’ll do my best to watch Transformers.  To listen to stories about what new level you made on your video game.  I’ll try to be as relaxed as your father….but it won’t do any good.  My best simply doesn’t match up to his and your relationship, and for that I am happy and sad.  The last thing I want you to endure is pain, but in this case I cannot help.

I’ll need you to try really hard for me, okay buddy?  To try to focus on what’s here, rather than what’s missing.  To try to countdown the days and remain positive, instead of focusing on how many days we’ve gone without him.  I’ll need you to remain the amazing student that you’ve become this year, and not use this temporary situation as an excuse of why you “Can’t”.

Because you CAN.
You can be strong.

You are already all of those things and more.  We’ll get through this together.  You try hard, and I’ll try harder.

Pinky Promise.

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