At one point or another, we all will have to separate from our baby, no matter what age they are. That being said, some parents are forced to do this in an unfathomable amount of time. When we look at an average leave being 6-12 weeks of unpaid leave in the United States, for many, that would be a gift.
My father was not an ordinary parent, and it was clear when I compared our life to my friends' lives that ours was not ordinary. And yet, as I've grown up and become a parent myself, I've realized that my father did some things very well -- and taught me some important lessons about being a good parent.
Obviously, military families make incredible, admirable sacrifices, and many personnel can't be allowed to leave for longer blocks of time. But if the Navy can part with new moms for 18 weeks after a birth, it can part with at least some new dads for more than 10 days total during the child's first year of life.
We're not always at our best as parents. We repeat ourselves often, knowing the result will be the same. I'm but a parent to young kids but I've done research and I know of 11 ridiculous things all parents of kids under six have said. I know because I've said them all and I'm a parent and therefore (science explanation that's probably wrong)...
Home for the weekend recently, I chanced upon my father's South Vietnamese Army uniform, the three silver stars still pinned meticulously onto each lapel. Once, as a child, I had looked up to a man who had seemed more like a deity. Hadn't I imagined myself as an adult walking in his soldierly footsteps?