If I've learned anything in my husband's absence it's that the kids miss him terribly. They don't like being away from him.
I guess before he left I had this idea that the kids and I would adjust somewhat easily to where we just got used to him not being around, but to tell you the truth there has not been a day that has gone by when my kids haven't mentioned how much they miss their Daddy. With my daughter, it's a daily morose moment when she laments about how she misses him. With my son, it manifests itself into anger and aggression since he's not quite old enough to talk about how he's feeling.
The lesson learned is this: You can't just go on with business as usual when a parent leaves.
It may seem like a really obvious statement, especially to people who have already been through something like this. For me, though, I just thought that I could be enough for the kids. I figured that they would miss Daddy, but it wouldn't fundamentally change who we all are together. I thought we would still be the same dynamic threesome we were when Daddy was simply at work during the day. We'd have fun, run errands, and go on with our lives.
Not so. Instead of being the fun, busy mom who the kids get to hang out with during the day I somehow became the parent who isn't Daddy. I'm the one they take their frustrations out on when they are angry that Daddy is gone. I'm the one who isn't physically strong enough to throw them in the air like Daddy used to. I'm the one who is exhausted by the time evening rolls around.
I don't know if they blame me for his absence. In a big way, I am indeed responsible for him being gone because when he asked me what I thought of him taking the job overseas, I encouraged him. It was his idea, but I'm the one who gave it the green light.
Back then I had no idea how profoundly his absence would affect my kids. I guess it's just one of those things that you have to experience firsthand before you really get it.