This has been a difficult year for the girls and I, as we have never been apart this long. And prior to the divorce, we had never been apart more than a month (curse you, Army training). Even though we are an ocean and most of a continent away, the girls and I have been pretty good about communicating with each other over the last six months. Thankfully, this will all be over soon, and we will be able to get back to our daily routine.
As I was headed out, I asked the girls if they wanted me to write them while I was deployed; even though I was already planning to, I wanted to gauge their level of excitement for such an endeavor. Gabby was slightly in the affirmative realm (“Yeah, Dad, sure, that sounds good.”) while Elaina flat told me that she wanted me to write every day. Okay then, I guess I need to give the niñas what they want. So I decided to write them every day on deployment. Yep, I became known as the letter-writing guy on Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base. But because of that, you can be sure that everyone in turn knew all about Elaina and Gabriella.
Even though the girls never ended up sending me a care package or even writing to me (of which I am fairly disappointed in their Mother about), I did get to FaceTime with them every few days. Thanks to technology for making this deployment a little easier, but it still never felt like enough.
I did get a decent number of pictures and videos from their Mother, particularly when it came to their tumbling progress. The best ones so far have been their taste-test videos from their Greek, Romanian, and German candy.
Elaina is growing up, both in size (she is getting very tall) and in abilities. She currently knows how to make her own omelets and waffles, so all we need is for her to know how to make grilled cheese sandwiches and I never have to cook for her again (joke… that was a joke, people).
In return, I send them pictures of my breakfast, after which they cry out in disbelief at what I am served; I do tell them that the Army gives us both a large variety of food and a lot of it… I just do not like it and would rather just have coffee and cereal every day.
Gabriella is progressing a lot in her tumbling classes, making it to Level 2 about a month ago after perfecting the above move. Elaina does not seem as interested in it any more, but Gabriella is loving it and thriving in the program. Now if she could only do the same thing in reading.
Elaina, on the other hand, is an avid reader, just like her father. She recently got an award at school for reading five young adult books. That is my girl!
And they are getting even more adventurous. Apparently, Space Mountain and Expedition Everest are child’s play now, as they went on “real roller coasters” (their blasphemous words, not mine) at Sea World. All I heard is that we are now good for a trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain. Punks. They are still not getting along though, which is a little disconcerting, but it is what can be expected from siblings. Just hoped it was going to get a little better, instead of getting a little worse. I guess that is what happens as they start approaching their teens (which cannot be pushed back far enough).
It has been a rough year though, and like I said before, as much as I write them, get pictures and videos from them, and FaceTime with them, it is never going to be enough. While going through this for ten weeks is difficult during summers, it is so much worse over here, especially with the seven to eight hour time difference. Elaina recently got a phone, so at least she can text or call me when she is feeling down; no matter the time of night, even though I probably should be sleeping, I will always answer. I do not have that many more letters to write them though, as I will be home soon to be there in person once again. I will visit them shortly upon returning stateside, but once they finish school for the year, Team Calkins will be back together at Fort Campbell. Absolutely cannot wait for us to be back together and to get back to our normal family routine again.
Thanks for checking in on us.