My kids, on the other hand, were amazing. In fact, the way that they just carried on was quite humbling to me. I remember thinking about them just before my wife deployed to Afghanistan back in July of 2009. I remember I was expecting the worst: kids crying in the night, doing poorly in school, withdrawing from other kids... Sure, the first week my wife was gone they were down. But then school started along with all of those extracurricular activities they all do. They found friends to play with and got busy just being kids. In short... they were far more resilient that I ever was. This was also the case when my wife was gone for three and a half weeks in January, and again these past two weeks. I'm amazed by them.
I've learned that I'm not the only parent with amazing kids. I've known lots of spouses dealing with deployments. What I've found is that the vast majority of their children simply carry on with being kids. They go to school, they do their stuff, and then they go outside and play. Military kids bounce back from these separations far better than we, their parents, do. My bad days outnumbered my kids' bad days by a factor of 10! Yes, they had some, but nothing like I did, and I thought I did pretty well...
I've talked to so many people who are in deployments and who are about to go through a deployment. The range of emotions is vast. Most of them have kids and have concerns about how they will do during the separation. Well, if there's one piece of advice I can give to you, it's this: your kids will be fine. So long as you continue to give them the love they need, they will bounce back quickly and will get back to doing what they do best: being kids! Establish a routine that is predictable that they can flourish in, and then sit back and watch them fly.
What's more, and you'll see this for yourself, your children will actually HELP YOU THROUGH THE DEPLOYMENT! Just by being themselves, they'll bring out the laughter that you though was gone. They will make the smiles return and, if nothing else, they will give you a compelling reason to pick yourself up off the ground get yourself moving again. Many days I just wanted to stay in the bed and hope it would hurry on by. But their vitality got me moving. And you know what? It's ok to laugh and smile during a deployment. Children do it every day. Maybe we could learn something from them!