Over a month has passed since Mike left. Thirty-eight days to be exact. I'm sure most of you are thinking, wow, a month already?! ... but I'm not. The days seem to go by fast, but I feel like he's been gone for three months already. Maybe it's because I've heard his voice only once since the boat sailed away from the U.S. shore. Or maybe because Abby Kate keeps asking for her daddy nearly every day. Or because Avery is growing and changing so much and so fast that I can't believe he doesn't even know her this way.
I try not to dwell on missing him all the time. There's nothing I can do about it - I'm just glad every day that passes is a day closer to his homecoming. It's very conflicting to wish the days away, yet not want the girls to grow up so fast at the same time.
Lately I've heard from Mike about once, sometimes twice daily via email. I'm so thankful for at least the email communication. Having nothing is really terrible and I hope they never restrict the communication again. Mike says they work every single day and are staying really busy with briefs and flights. He can't tell me where they are or what they're doing. He can't even say what time zone they're in anymore. He asked me to take down my little map here on the blog that tracked his progress. I'm sad for AK because she was really enjoying putting up the stickers on her own gigantic map in her room. I've asked Mike to send me some pictures, so hopefully I'll have some to post here soon. For now, I'll settle for this one of Mike with the girls as we hiked some trails near our house the weekend before he left.
Mike is receiving the packages we've sent full of home video DVDs, pictures, AK's artwork, snacks, candy, sports drink mixes, books, magazines and all sorts of other stuff. I think mail is a big morale booster on the ship, so I've tried to send something every couple of weeks. He said he taped up the girls' pictures above his bed. I can't imagine how it would feel to only be able to look at their sweet smiles in pictures and video and not be able to hold them and laugh with them and kiss them goodnight.
But one month is gone. And that feels good to say. I've been told the first and last months are the hardest. The first as you try to settle into a routine without them and the last because of the anticipation and not knowing exactly when they'll come home. I think they give a two-week window or something like that.
Eight more to go! I REALLY hope less!