Dear Olivia,

Before Daddy left, I made him go along to this session where he could record himself reading a story to you for bedtime. This is the sort of thing that your dad gets ridiculously cringed out by, but now that it has turned up, I am so, so glad that I asked him to do it…

I bought a CD player from Tesco specifically for your bedroom so that we could get back on track with a bedtime routine, incorporating Daddy’s story into it. But before we even hit lunchtime today, I just had to try it out.

I honestly wish I had been a bit more on the ball and had my camera ready, because your face lit up with amazement when you heard his voice saying “Hello, Olivia”. When it got to bedtime, you asked for Daddy’s story, and took your milk and went into your own bed (which you haven’t done for a couple of weeks now) and were perfectly content to stay there and listen to the story.

What makes this whole thing even more precious is that you’re listening to it on repeat right now – I could hear you saying the words along, and when I went up to check on you, you would say “Daddy’s coming” when the music started and “Daddy’s gone” when the music stopped.

I know you don’t understand where Daddy is, and I know I’ve taught you to say that he’s on holiday (which he really isn’t pleased about, by the way), but this story has made a huge difference to you in just one night.

Daddy used to do the bedtime routine, and while you normally didn’t have a story before he left, I think being able to hear Daddy tell you one now makes you feel like he’s still right here.

I can’t imagine how hard it is for you, and I’ve said so many times that you’re handling the adjustment really well. You are, you’re doing so well. You’re adapting and you’ll continue to adapt, but that doesn’t negate how much you must miss him and how confusing it must be for you in the meantime.

Daddy will be home soon, darling. Not for very long, but hopefully with two weeks together you’ll get some quality time with him and Kiera that you’ve been missing out on for 3 whole months.

Storybook Soldiers are an amazing charity. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts for your kind efforts to help children like Olivia through their parents’ deployments.