Once a month the Rock Island Arsenal hosts a fatherhood event. It is a couple of hours for military Dads to spend with their kids. Gene and the girls went to Incredible Pizza. I don't know who had more fun playing the video games - Gene or the girls.
I can't tell you how special this program is and how much my girls enjoy this time. So often, a soldier's work hours are so long that he may only see his kids for a few minutes a day. He normally leaves at 5:30am and doesn't get home until after 7pm. Or, if it is a job like Gene's, he is traveling most of the time.
We have been blessed this year to have Gene around. He has taken advantage of this unusual schedule and volunteers to help with the girls' events whenever possible. He has celebrated being a Dad every day. He was Greta's Girl Scout Troop's Cookie Mom. Not many fathers can say they organized a cookie sale. He is even helping at VBS this summer. This special time in our lives will soon be over and I know we will miss him. Moving this time means more than leaving our friends... in a way we are leaving behind one of the best opportunites that came our way and one of the best times of our family's life. He won't be there to take the girls to school or help get them ready for bed. That will become my job again and I tell you... it goes so much smoother when he is around.
I hope the girls look back and remember this year instead of the years that Gene has been deployed. I also hope that he will still be able to go to special events with them like the Fatherhood Program every once in a while. They mean so much to all of us. He means so much to us.