Phone Calls and other jazz

Some things I’ve learned about phone calls while Jacob’s at Basic.

Before getting a phone call I would jolt down some things I needed to discuss with him. 15 minutes is a lot to cram a weeks worth of information.  Since you write stuff down you can really prioritize what matters the most.

Usually I talk first and let Jacob compose himself. Just normal things that are happening here and about Peter. After a minute or two he normally gives a rundown on things he wants to talk about. I’m there to listen, give support, laugh, and pray with him. Quick Peter moment (more noted below), and I say anything I need to say (prime example: We didn’t get our first paycheck and I needed go ask some quick down and dirty questions. We played “Which bills will be paid this month” and “Shall there be Christmas?”). We say our goodbyes before it’s time to hand up. In fact, we say our goodbyes a couple minutes before the phone call is supposed to end. It’s sucky harder to end a phone call with a “I gotta go, bye!”

Then the last moments we say one thing that this experience will help us do. We have to look at the fact that Jacob is doing this for a reason. We wouldn’t be able to last financially if he wasn’t doing this. Since we  live modestly (mostly) Jacob’s time away will pay off all the little bills that have been paid on little by little (my medical bills/dentist bills), we will be able to save money while he’s gone, we may be able to buy a ‘new to us’ car when he’s done. That would be great, because our one car will not last forever. There is a sacrifice that’s real and hard. Being able to pinpoint something that we are able to get from this experience good, some weeks are rough.

Remember, the phone call will be over in a blink. This is my time to be strong for Jacob. After the phone call, I usually cry (or feel like crying) for 20 minutes. The amount of time crying after a phone call has decreased each week.

We are halfway done.

 

Phone calls with kids:

Peter’s handling his Dad’s absence in a way I didn’t prepare for… He’s ignoring it. It’s been a blessing but sad. He doesn’t like talking about his Dad being gone, but I’m able to tell when he’s acting out because he’s sad or missing his Dad. When that point comes we talk about it. I still mention Jacob like I normally do, but I need to respect that this is the way that he’s handling it.

Peter has a Build-a-Bear (Tiny Daddy Bear =TDB) that’s great. When he’s missing his Dad he pushing on TDB’s  foot and hears Jacob say, “Daddy loves you Peter.” When he’s squeezing TDB and pushing the button over and over… It’s a rough day. Jacob recorded several video clips for Peter (and one for me!), and that’s when I pull it out. We watch Daddy reading books or singing songs or talking about “We don’t pick our nose.” Usually Peter will be able to tell me when he’s done with the videos and ready to play again. For Peter naps and bedtimes are the worst.
This also puts us in a unique position when it comes to phone calls. Peter didn’t want to do it. At all. The first time he was pooping and said, “I no talk, I ppppppooooping (with a grunt).” The second phone call he was sleeping and the third his cousins were here playing and he just couldn’t leave them to play.

While it makes Jacob sad, he understands. Peter will draw Daddy pictures or pray for him before bed. He just doesn’t want to talk to him on the phone.

On Christmas Peter did a quick “Merry Christmas Daddy,” before running away to play. On New Year’s day (a Sunday) Jacob got a 30 minute phone call and Peter said, “Happy New Year Daddy.” He then blabbed a couple words I didn’t understand and then said bye. It’s a slow process.

I have to prep Peter. Daddy may be calling tomorrow, today, this afternoon…. Is there anything you want to say? Can you say ::insert message:: OR I feel Daddy would be very happy if you were able to say “I love you” today.

It’s a slow process. Jacob takes what he’s given in the loving way it was meant. It’s not a lot for adults to say, but from our two year old it’s a great gift.

Frankly, I would rather go about it this way then to have a screaming crying inconsolable  toddler on a phone call.

Jacob has the opportunities to earn extra phone calls. Jacob’s so awesome that he’s had two extra oh shit where’s my phone phone calls and one extended phone call (besides Christmas).

Four more phone calls before we’re able to see, to hug, to hold, to laugh with him.

I can’t wait.

 

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