Written by Nicole Johnson
Editor at The Life of the Baseball Wife
Thursday morning, I felt recharged from Elliot's visit home over All Star Break. We had a great visit and all the kids enjoyed having him home for a few days. Elliot flew out early in the morning before any of us woke up for the day.
Our son Blake woke as I was getting ready for work and rushed into our bedroom to find that Elliot had already left to travel back to Oklahoma City and meet his team.
"I didn't get to say goodbye to Daddy!" he cried, not understanding that Elliot had a 4 am ride to the airport and didn't want to wake anyone.
He's always an emotional mess for the first couple days after Elliot leaves. It makes us all sad, especially me as he acts out and is extremely sensitive with me. He feels the void in his life as soon as Daddy leaves.
He has a Daddy shaped hole in his heart.
I do my best to try to have patience with him when we go through a transition after having Elliot home. I find myself getting frustrated at times because he's acting out, and I have to remind myself that he is so emotional because his Daddy is gone and he can't fully understand it, and he can't control his temper the way adults can.
This year has been the hardest on him by far.
Elliot and I both work to help fill Blake's time and love tank. Here are some of the things we do that we have found helpful in coping with Daddy being gone:
1. Mommy/Son Dates: I try to take Blake out for one-on-one time at least once a week.
2. Thoughtful Gifts: Elliot picks up little knick knacks and trinkets in the cities he visits and brings them home to Blake to show him that he's thinking of him.
3. Face Time calls to Daddy and Family: Elliot makes an active effort to call Blake every single day. He watches Blake play video games, cars, you name it. Additionally, my parents make an active effort to talk to Blake on a regular basis.
4. Family Visits: My sister and her Fiance try to come visit and hang out with my kids once a week. They do this so I can have a break, and also so that Blake can have more attention.
5. Setting aside a little time every day: If Blake had it his way, he would have the undivided attention of someone all day, everyday. While we can't do this, especially since he has twin sisters, I do make an effort to give him my undivided attention for a little while every day.
6. Make things for Daddy: We recognize that we miss Elliot, and I encourage Blake to draw pictures for Daddy, and pick things out to give him when he returns. We send him some of Blake's pictures in the mail.
7. Watch games: Unfortunately, Elliot is playing for a team in a time zone an hour behind us, and I work first shift. We don't often get to watch Elliot's games, but when we get a chance to watch a day game that he's playing in, we try to. We talk about what cities he travels to, and sometimes we check them out on a map.
8. Be honest: It's completely okay to be sad that Daddy is gone. I make an effort to tell Blake that I miss Elliot, too. I tell him when he's coming back, and that being apart is hard on all of us. Understanding his emotions helps me help Blake deal with the separation.
How do you help your children cope when their daddy travels?