I've realized I am in a time continuum of some sort. The time I have to get the house packed and all the arrangements for the new house finished is flying by at the speed of light, but the time for Kevin to get home is dragging by at a snail's pace. How is that possible? It's all the same time, after all. Some genius scientist needs to look into this phenomenon.
Something occurs to me that will change my prayers for Kevin's unit. While he is gone, they will be without a regular Chaplain for several weeks. There will be coverage for emergencies and if, God forbid, there are any casualties, another Chaplain in the brigade will cover that, too. But the regular counseling, the day-to-day visits, the field services...no one will be covering these responsibilities for his battalion while he is gone. So I've begun to pray for the soldiers in his unit, for an extra measure of peace and strength, for an extra measure of safety and protection, and for them to be encouraged in their hearts from within and from one another and especially from God Himself, even though Kevin isn't there to bring the encouragement they have come to look to him for.
On the home front, Caitlin is not dealing with everything well at all. Her tantrums and clingy behavior are getting out of control at times. An instruction to keep her toys out of the doorway at the carwash waiting room turns into a huge ordeal and cries of "I want Daddy." A sore leg turns into a battle over which outlet the heating pad should be plugged into. As I type this, she is in time-out in her room until she calms down enough for me to speak to her and discipline her...at this point it would have no meaning while she is so irrational. She is stubborn and selfish, even more than any 6-year-old I have ever known. She is also sweet and loving...but I grieve to see that side of her being pushed below the surface more and more often as even her interactions with her brothers and friends becomes a battlefield. I thought we were doing better...she went several days without incident. But today she had two whoppers. I know she misses her Daddy...we all do. I know she struggles with how to express this and how to deal with it. But how do I help her? How do I show her that her behaviors are causing her to be more and more isolated from those who love her who are right here with her, ready to comfort her loneliness for her Daddy? I make sure that her wrong behaviors are not rewarded and I try to be very consistent...yet it goes on. I know she is not sleeping well and that contributes to it. But I can't let myself make excuses for her either. It breaks my heart.
Thursday is the last baseball game of the season. It's been a good season...Thomas has blossomed into a fine pitcher. The last game, out of 12 outs in the game, 10 of them were strike-outs from him. (Woohoo, proud Mom moment!) Kevin is also improving. I hope he doesn't feel too much like he is in his brother's shadow. I want to find ways to let him be in the spotlight...something all his own that he can shine at. He is such a bright, sweet boy.
Well, the quiet coming from Caitlin's room tells me it's time to go talk to her. God help me and give me the patience I need. Give all of us the patience we need to make it through the rest of this month and this deployment.