You Are on Speaker Phone

You Are on Speaker Phone

From Chicken Soup for the Military Wife's Soul

You Are on Speaker Phone

Your dreams can come true if you know what to do.

Johnnie Coleman

I think every military wife will tell you that one of the hardest things is being a “Daddy substitute” when Daddy is gone.

In our house, my husband’s special time with our three-year-old is bath time. For thirty minutes a day, one on one, they sing “Old MacDonald” at the top of their lungs, practice the ABCs and discuss their days between laughs and splashes. Next, Braeden runs down the hall to his bedroom with Daddy close behind, puts on his favorite Superman pajamas and carefully adjusts his cape. After “flying” through the house to clean up the toys, my husband calls out, “Time to pick out a book.”

These moments are my favorite.

We settle together on Braeden’s bed and read a carefully chosen story: me, my husband, our son and our newborn daughter. We pray as a family, thanking God for one another, and, of course, for baseball and football! As we say good night, we sing his favorite song, “The Great Big Book of Everything,” kiss all three of his stuffed animals, cover him with his two favorite “blankies” and begin the debate of who loves whom more. That is when we receive our reward, and our precious little boy says the magic words. “I love you, Mom and Dad.”

When Daddy leaves, the bedtime routine is suddenly turned upside down. Our “key player” is absent from the game. Thanks to modern technology, we have a fix for it. While Braeden is in the tub, we talk about what Daddy is doing. Pj’s go on, toys are picked up and then I say, “You pick out a book, and I’ll call Daddy.”

We all get into bed together: me, our son, our daughter and the telephone.

“You are on speaker phone,” I tell my husband. I read the story, and we pray as a family, thanking God for each other, for the day and for Daddy’s safe and speedy return. We sing the beloved Disney song, I do all the kisses and then we debate over who loves whom more. Before we end the call, my husband yells out, “I love you, bud.” And we are rewarded with our son’s reply.

“I love you, Mom and Dad.”

Angela Keane

More stories from our partners