Tonight we had "the talk" with the boy about Joshua's deployment...talk about waiting until the last minute. I should qualify that we've said things here and there but tonight was the big night. Nothing like last minute. We're blessed to have a copy of the Sesame St Deployment dvd...if you haven't heard of it, I'm pretty sure you can go onto Military One Source and request one. We got our copy at the Yellow Ribbon Weekend. It's not Army Specific but it does only show Army and Air Force families. I've been sadly surprised how many other military families I've met that haven't heard of the dvd.
In the video, Elmo's dad has to go away "to help people" for a long time. It has clips of various military families discussing their own experience with deployment and shows the many ways Elmo was able to stay in touch with his daddy. They specifically mentioned letters, photos and talking over the computer (Skype without naming it) and before Elmo's daddy left, he and Elmo talked about how they could both still say goodnight to the moon. That one hit Joshua and the boy a bit hard (I had previewed it to make sure it was something that would work for us) because going outside and seeing the moon at night is something they do now. I probably should've warned Joshua about that part. That was when the boy started to get upset. He didn't cry at that point, he got angry. He sat on Joshua's lap with a scowl on his face for the rest of the video.
After the video ended, it's about 25 mins long, we asked the boy if he understood what happened with Elmo's dad. His response was more of the angry scowl so we continued and told him Joshua would also be gone for a long time but we'll be able to send pictures and talk on the computer. The boy just started bawling and clung to Joshua's leg.
It was rough. I really wasn't 100% sure that he'd understand at 2 and a half years old what it meant but I'm sure he does. As a treat, the three of us put tonight's DVR'd episode of The Big Bang Theory on...I know it sounds odd but the boy loves it. Mostly, I think, because in the opening credit he and Joshua dance together yell "BIG BANG" as the song ends. He doesn't really care about the show but we enjoy it and he likes to sit with us while we laugh.
It's going to be tough but I feel better knowing that at least on some level, the boy gets it.