Babies can’t tell you when they’re affected by change.
Three weeks ago, DH left for a six month deployment.
On the surface, Aria is just Aria. She clings to me and vacillates between a spectrum of todfant emotions. She plays, she laughs, she cries. She stays close to me and is wary of family and strangers alike. She cries when I drop her off at school and cries in relief when I pick her up.
DH wondered if she would even notice he was gone.
Of course she would!
DH makes Aria (and me) laugh every day. It is his superpower, my favorite thing about him. He loves to talk and cuddle. He makes sure we’re always out doing things and seeing new places and eating at great new restaurants. He fills life with life.
It doesn’t matter that 80% of the time, if Aria has the choice, she will be held by me. She loves dad. He always makes her smile.
But she can’t tell him she misses him. She has no words.
At least that’s what I thought.
For months DH has said something along the lines of:
“If you say ‘dada,’ I’ll buy you a boat…”
“If you say ‘dada,’ you can finish my beer…”
“If you say ‘dada,’ I’ll let you drive my car…”
She would of course fail the test. “Too late! Maybe next time,” he would always say.
On Friday we skyped with DH and Aria was all laughter and smiles. She held my phone and stared down at it like it was one of her biggest treasures.
I pointed and said “Dada”
DH said “Dada!”
Aria, with a big toothy grin, exclaimed “Dada!!”
This was enough to warm the cool frost on the heartache of a long deployment. It was the first time she’d addressed him so deliberately. It was awesome.
Then, at one in the morning, I was dragged from my slumbers. Not by her normal wails, but by a wholly new cry:
“Dada! Dada! Dada! Dada!”
Here’s to a year of Aria and dad.