Monday, April 16, 2007

A lot of kids need their REAL daddies and mommies to come home

I just saw this at Crooks and Liars: The troops want to “finish the job”?

Apparently that's what Bush said in a speech today. Steve at C&L adds:

...last week, once soldiers started hearing about Bush extending their tours, there were “outbursts of anger and frustration laced with dark humor.” Specialist Rodney Lawson, to no one in particular, said, “If I get malaria, I get to leave, right?”
Earlier today, I saw an essay in the Columbus Dispatch (originally from the New York Times News Service) entitled Flat Daddy leaves mommy deflated. Alison Buckholtz, the wife of a Navy pilot and mother of two small children shared her thoughts on having a "Flat Daddy"--a life-size cutout of her husband's likeness--in her home.
...He was a fake husband whose frozen cheerful expression -- the same dimpled grin I'd fallen for on a steamy August evening at a cafe in Washington -- gave me no comfort. He only reminded me of what I was missing.

But Ethan and Esther loved hanging out with Flat Daddy, so I couldn't take him out of their lives. Instead, whenever I needed a reprieve, I'd put him in the upstairs office, where they never went, and then I'd feel guilty and immediately return him to the family room.

One morning, we headed off to my son's preschool, where that day another 4-year-old was giving a presentation about his dad, who was stationed in Iraq for the year.

But Ethan refused to enter the room, crying hysterically and clinging to me as I tried to leave. When the teacher explained to him that the little boy was going to talk about his daddy because he missed him, Ethan started screaming, "But I miss my daddy!"

I offered to go home to get Flat Daddy. My son looked at me as if I had lost my mind, then burst into a fresh round of crying: "Flat Daddy's not real" was all he could say.

Flat Daddy was no substitute for an ongoing conversation about how real Daddy's absences were affecting us. Watching my son come unglued forced me to see that Flat Daddy wasn't fooling anyone.
Ms. Buckholtz goes on to say that she admires the creativity and generosity of the people who are offering Flat Daddies (and Mommies) to the families of those serving in the military overseas, but "it's all in how it works for each family". She came to realize that, for her own family, a better solution was to tuck Flat Daddy away in a corner of the guest room, and spend more time talking with the kids about how real Daddy's absences were affecting them.

I can't help but think that I'd like to see Flat Daddies and Mommies sent to the people who are pushing to continue this war. I want them to have to look at those faces every day, and be reminded that they are actual human beings who are being kept from their families, and who are missing important milestones as their children grow up.