Let’s put the cliched statement out there first – “This will be harder on me than it is on her.” That’s what they keep telling me, and I hope that it’s true, for her sake. In the meantime, we’ve tried to do some fun things to prepare ourselves for this absence. Keep in mind that my daughter is only 15 months old, so she doesn’t understand too much about what’s going on and we have limitations to what we can do. We’ve ordered her and I also ordered the Sesame Street “Talk, Listen, Connect” DVDs. She doesn’t watch TV, but I made an exception for this series, which is designed to introduce family separation and feelings to young children. We attempted to watch it and it went as expected – she lost interest after a couple of minutes and wandered away to play. I am totally fine with that. It’s a very cute series, available in English and Spanish, and available for free from Military One Source. Both websites have a ton of (free!) resources to assist military families and military kids. Military One Source has even more great freebies, including a number of board books for ages one through three that have been developed by licensed clinical social workers (LCSW) through the organization Zero To Three. All of their books are winners in our household and include information in the back for parents on how to broach topics like separation and reunification with children, as well as typical reactions of children to these sorts of emotions. Most of their books include slots for photos, which DD really loves. Just try not to choke up while you read “Over There” to your child, especially the line, “My Mommy/Daddy is away and I miss her/him, but she’s/he’s always here in my heart.” Seriously. DD devours books and loves being read to, so we have gone through these books time and time again. Ultimately, I am thankful that unlike at BMT, I will have access to a personal computer and significantly fewer restrictions on the use of my personal cell phone so that I can call home and FaceTime whenever possible. I don’t know the exact policies just yet, so I don’t want to speak before I have firsthand experience, but I am relieved to know that this is an option for me. I tip my hat to those parents that go through BMT, separated by their children with minimal opportunities to communicate with them. In the meantime, we are trying to make the most of our summer and our remaining days together.