Skype is a blessing. Hands down, absolutely, incredibly - a blessing.
"Oh no!" he cried out. "Where'd daddy go?" The screen had gone black. For just a few seconds we lost the picture and then he was back. "You okay?" Logan asks C now that his smiling face returned to the computer screen.
"I'm okay, buddy," C reassured him, "But I have to go in just a minute."
"Okay," Logan replied only responding to the first part of the statement. Logan began flying his small plane in the view of the camera, showing and telling C how fast it could go. Talking to him nonstop, playing constantly.
"Okay, buddy, I have to head back to work," C told him.
Un-phased, still smiling Logan says, "More, Daddy," and continues to fly his plane.
"Daddy has to go, buh-ga. Blow him kisses," I prompt him. He blows kisses at the screen.
"Bye, Buddy, I love you," C catches his kisses and blows them back. I wave and the screen turns black again.
The plane dropped onto the keyboard. Logan just stood there, bottom lip sticking out. "(Where'd) Daddy go?" he panicked. "No, Daddy go, No! Daddy please." He just points at the screen. "Please Daddy. Please. More Daddy." He sinks to the floor and continues to point to the screen, tears started to quietly show now. So much that his little mind doesn't understand yet. So much that his little mind understands already.
I am so incredibly thankful that we finally (if only for a short time) have Skype. I truly am overjoyed by it. For the boys to see C and for C to see him - for me to see him - there really are no words. I am very grateful.
But this has become a regular thing when it is time to say goodbye. And it is as though that same day that we lived (what seems like) so long ago when this little boy realized that his daddy was not here is replaying over and over again. He talks about him constantly now - which is both wonderful and painful. He wants him around for everything, asking where he is, asking why, far more often now. And that same joy that consumes every feature of his tiny face when he hears C's voice and sees his face is always wiped away when his lip quivers and he struggles to try to make it come back after it has gone.
The confusion has set back in, the temper, the heartbreak, the lack of understanding. I want so very badly to take him in my arms and help him to know that Daddy never wants to leave him, that Daddy always loves him, that Daddy misses him just as much. I want to hug every part of him that hurts, every piece of him that cannot understand why Daddy cannot play with him longer, why Daddy cannot be here when he wants him, why Daddy cannot hold him instead.
I do not want him to feel pain. I do not want him to know this heartache. I want more than anything on this earth to be able to comply when he says, "More Daddy." To take the confusion away - how difficult it must be for 2-year-old mind to handle. How horribly confusing to process what he sees and what he wants and for the two to not match up. Oh, how I wish I could wipe all that away as I hold him and wipe the tears.
But before these moments and then again later - there is so much joy. There is so much goodness in seeing his reaction when C's moving image lights up the screen. There is so much goodness when he points to Eli and tells his daddy about him. There is so much healing when he presses his little fingers to the screen to give his Daddy's hand a high-five. There is so much laughter when Logan tries to tickle C's neck and believes it when C laughs in response. There are so many blessings in those moments - so much deep, deep joy in that laughter. Such incredible goodness.
But with the joy will come the heartache. With the laughter will come the tears. And with the healing will come the breaking. And I will take them both. I know that as I hold my child while he presses his hands to a blackened screen, there will be joy again. I know that in the moment that he flies into his Daddy's arms there will be the greatest of all healings. I know that when he can touch his skin and not just his image the confusion will be as though it had never been. I know this - I know the goodness and I know the sorrow - and I will take them. I will hold them both in my arms and pull them into myself - making his joy my joy and his pain my pain. Without the heartache we cannot appreciate the joy. Without the joy we cannot get through the heartache.
And so I will continue to take them both - willingly, faithfully, knowingly. I will take them tomorrow and the next tomorrow and the next. Because eventually tomorrow will be the tomorrow - and I can carry them both until then.
"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown
"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.