Warning: This post may make you cry....
So, we are in the last few days with Mark. Soon, he will pack his duffel bag with hot weather gear and head for a place beyond the ocean. We have been trying to get prepared for such a journey. His journey into a new country and our journey living without Dad.
We have several preparations to do before Mark makes his final lift off. We have clothing to buy, bags to get, phone calls to make, final questions to be answered, etc. However, one of the most important things to do is to give the boys something special from Daddy.
One of the coping mechanisms we used while Mark was gone before was a special stuff animal. It was quite successful with my two oldest children. So, we are trying it again. When the boys miss their dad they can hug their new stuff animal and remember how much their Dad loves them.
We didn't want just any animal we wanted a special animal. We walked by Build A Bear and we qualified for a special discount; therefore, it was almost a done deal. Now to choose the special animal, make it, and dress the animal in their special outfit.
Mary-Elizabeth was easy. We found a very special flowery bunny. She is precious and ME loves her too. It was moving to see Mark work with Mary-Elizabeth in building her bunny. My daughter no longer looked like a baby, but a toddler in her Daddy's arm.
Joshua chose a Army bear with an Army tent. It fits his passion in life and is a perfect symbol of his Dad. Joshua decided he didn't need clothes for his bear because he was already camouflaged. So, he opted for the Army Tent. Precious moments watching him set up the tent and carefully put his stuffed animals in it.
Stephen chose a bunny so that Joshua's bunny wouldn't be all alone. Fits Stephen's personality to always include others. However, his bunny is spectacular because he sports a Star Wars outfit. His bunny is Bunny Skywalker. Mark wanted to call him O' Bunny Kinobi. Stephen, being a true Luke Skywalker fan, wouldn't have it.
Kaleb chose a dog. Anyone who knows Kaleb knows that he desires to have a dog. A dog is companionship and responsibility rolled up in one for him. He also opted for a dog house instead of clothes. It was a weird feeling watching him put his own toys together. Some days I forget how old he is.
Micah's animal is the sweetest. I call Micah my "Monkey." Mark calls Micah his "Tiger." Mark found a Tiger for Micah and we knew that was the animal for him. So, Micah got a tiger in honor of his Daddy's nickname. I know that as time comes my eyes will be moist as I watch Micah cuddle his Tiger and remember how Mark calls Micah his "Tiger" and smiles. Micah doesn't totally get it now, but someday that Tiger will mean the world to him. Because goodness knows "Tiger" means the world to his Daddy as well as the other bunch of animals we have roaming around here.