20 June 2010

A Letter to Lena

Dear Lena:

Today is Father's Day. You are 5-and-a-half years old. Rain is 3 years old. You are my best friends in the world. I love you both very much.

I am writing from an Army camp. I work in a big tent with other soldiers and airmen. Some are men and some are women. You and Rain would like it here. There are always lots of airplanes and helicopters and trucks. Some airplanes flew over my head last night. It made me think of my dad. I hope you are thinking of me sometimes, too.

This week, I saw Elam's dad at an Army store. I told him you said I had to give him a hug. He said that was very sweet. I hope you and Elam are friends for a long time.

I will be home soon, but I have some sad news. In a month or two, the Army will send me to another country. The country is called Afghanistan. I am going because my soldier friends need my help. I will talk on a radio, and work on a computer. I will help keep my friends safe.

When I was your age, my dad flew on airplanes. He was in the Air Force. He was gone a lot, but my mom and little brother and I always liked to welcome him home. When he left on a long trip, he always told us that he would see us in his dreams.

If I am lucky, maybe someday soon I will get to fly in a plane like Papa's! (It was called a "Hercules." Ask him about it.) If I do, I will send you a picture.

I will be gone for a long time. I will miss your next birthday, and probably Rain's, too. I will not be home for Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or Easter. This makes me sad. Still, we will talk on the phone while I am away. We will write letters and send pictures. We may even talk on the computer.

Lena, I need your help: You are a big sister. Teach your brother good words. Learn a lot in school. Read lots of books. Say your prayers every night. Make your brother laugh and give him hugs. Give your mom lots of kisses. Listen to what she says. She is very smart.

It is not easy for me to leave home. In fact, it is the hardest thing I have ever, ever, ever done. Until I get back, I need you to be brave like Mulan or Hercules or Musketeer Barbie. It is okay to feel sad sometimes, but I think you should try to be happy most every day.

You are pretty and smart and funny. You are a good dancer and soccer player, and I like reading books with you. I am very proud of you and your brother. I will miss you both very much.

You may love me halfway around the world, Little Nutbrown Hare, and that is very far. But I love you to halfway around the world ... and back! And that is very, very far indeed.

Good night, Princess. See you in my dreams.


  1. A 3 tissue post - thank you Sherpa.

  2. Aww CS,
    'Tis true as Paxford noted..3 tissues.

    Have a wonderful Father's Day, knowing that your kids are assured of your love as you are theirs.

  3. Ha, didn't even make it halfway before I had to get up for tissues. Thanks!

    We've talked to our three-year-old a few times now about Daddy leaving, without much detail, so he can start getting used to the idea. I really don't think he understands much of it, so at the same time we're trying to do all we can to prepare for the adjustment. My next plan is to record his voice reading a few of his favorite bedtime stories.

    Happy Father's Day!

  4. Happy Father's Day and Thank You for Your Service!
    A Colorado Soldiers' Angel

  5. Perfect letter for a perfect little girl. And you get to ride on a C-130? Damn, I'm jealous.

  6. Oh dear, Charlie Sherpa! Thank you AND your family, who also serve. btw? Do you know about an army programme for deployed to read and record stories for their children at home? I forget the name of it right now, but know I have written on it in the past...(I have partzheimers...lol)

    Mrs RedBull? I hope I don't need to remind YOU that many of us out here in the blogosphere honour and respect the sacrifice you and your children make while your husband is overseas?

    YOU are heroes to me, every single day.

    You are all in my heart and prayers.

    Thank you for all that you do.

    (oh and Charlie? Yes, I will be posting this and linking to you.....lol)

  7. Bless your heart. My son is a C-130 pilot and is away a great deal (not the same amount of time as NG or Army) but he misses milestones in his kids life also. It is very sad. He did get back from his last 7mo endeavor in time for Father's Day but missed birthdays and all those little graduations. The Skype on the computer is terrific. This isn't like Nam or the other wars without communication - still tough but at least you can watch them grow so you don't return to strangers. Very sweet letter to your daughter. Thank you for going.

  8. @ brat:Thank you very much for your recent re-posting of the Father's Day post, as well as a listing Red Bull Rising on your blog-roll!

    @ lorraine: I may have mentioned before that my dad was a navigator on C-130s, both when he got in during the VietNam War, and when he got out, during Desert Shield. When I get the chance, I'm going to try and find the 3-inch (?) reel-to-reel audio tapes that our family sent back and forth overseas.

    My wife and I have talked about maybe doing something similar with digital voice recorders--reading bedtime stories and that sort of thing.

    @ Everyone: Thanks for your good words, and for reading mine!

  9. Skype. Skype...the days he had it...was wonderful.

  10. Ohhh, choked up. Just precious. What a wonderful father you are! Many fathers who are physically present are not nearly as loving and supportive. Your family is very lucky to have you! Blessings and safety and deep appreciation to you for everything you do!


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