I babysit for a friend of mine two nights a week. The boy is 7 years old. A GREAT 7 year old at that! Very smart. Very articulate. I forget that he's only 7 quite often.
We were playing basketball by his father's truck last week. We started talking about what he wanted to do when he grew up. I asked him if he wanted to join the Army like his dad, like his deployed father. He said that he didn't know yet. That he liked this Army life so far. But that he misses his dad a lot. I asked him if it was hard for him to have his dad gone for a whole year. He said that he didn't really think about it. He said that it was distracting to think about so he tried not to. He said that he talks to his dad "a lot" and knows his dad loves him and misses him, so why think about it anymore? He said that he lets himself think about it sometimes. But not at school or when he's playing with friends.
Can this 7 year old boy really be the army dependent I know that's handling a deployment the best? I know that being a 7 year old is fairly worry-free, but is it when your father is in a war zone? He talks about his dad a lot - "My dad and I play this." This is my dad's cell phone." "My dad had to chop down that tree." "This is my father's guitar." My mom has to mow the lawn now that dad's gone." But it's never Earth shattering. His voice never wavers. He never complains about his dad being gone.
Initially, I worried about babysitting for this young man. I was afraid that the deployment would affect him in ways I couldn't comfort while I was there. Granted, I only spend about 7 hours with him every week, but I assumed that my coming in to his house to fill a position his father would have had might effect him. But I think he likes the fact that we're there to play with him.
I guess he speaks volumes about the kind of mother he has. His father will be in a war zone for a whole year but his life is stable and full of love.