Deployment Troubles of a 5 year-old

My five-year old is struggling. He is struggling with his father’s deployment. One and a half months down – 10 1/2 to go. This could be a long year. The two of them are close. He loves watching his dad play video games; looks for his dad’s face after every soccer goal he makes; helps his dad make an occasional dinner; hangs on every word his father says. When you talk about being a hero, Dad is up there in this little boy’s eyes.

So I found it quite peculiar a couple of weeks ago when I asked him if he wanted to talk to Dad, I was just finishing up a quick call with him, and he adamantly told me ‘No’. Hm… He was mad, I could hear it in his voice. Then what broke my heart a few days later: “Daddy is going to die.” I reassured him that Dad was not going to die. (Please, dear Lord, do not make me a liar!) I pulled him up onto my lap and gave him a big long hug. I asked him why he thought this and he replied, “There are so many bad guys out there.” Oh more long hugs as tears welled up in our eyes. I was glad he was finally talking and I told him it was ok to tell me these feelings but that we won’t dwell on them.

I have three boys and each of them is taking this deployment differently. They are all different ages and each has his own distinct personality. The 5 year-old is struggling the hardest at this point. Preschool is done. Soccer just finished. (He already misses his coach he has told me.) Our summer routine (or lack there of) is startling to unfold. I know he misses the leadership of other adults around him.

He will enter Kindergarten in the fall and I signed him up for Fall Soccer already (using our Military Kids grant!). But now I am looking for local things to do over the summer. I did see some ‘college classes’ for his age at our local community college (art and fun stuff) and there are some summer soccer clinics that we might take the time to enjoy. I’m regretting that we didn’t do baseball this spring / summer, as I didn’t want too much on our plate. Yes, I am a mother, always second-guessing my own decisions.

There are also some great resources out there if you are struggling with deployment and your school-age children:

By the way, a couple days later Hubby called and I again asked my five year-old if he wanted to talk to Dad and again he said “No”. Two minutes after we hung-up the phone he changed his mind (a step in the right direction!). So, we called Dad back up immediately. (Thank goodness Hubby is still training stateside!) He proudly told Dad he came in second place in Lego Racers that afternoon, a computer game that the two of them play together all the time. He couldn’t play that game without Dad’s help a couple of months ago, my little guy is growing up.

– Leanne from

PS Kudos to support from my fellow military spouses. I lamented the fact that I was having some troubles during Army Wife Talk Radio‘s Monday evening radio show in their chat room. Not only did I get some great advice, I also heard from ladies having the same problems with the same age children. If you are having deployment-troubles find support, virtual or face-to-face. You won’t regret it.byLeanneonTuesday, June 03, 2008Military Life:,

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