In 1963 my husband, Vic, was stationed in Okinawa before shipping out to Vietnam; our daughter, Yvette, was just three months old.
I kept framed pictures of her daddy dressed in his Marine Corps uniform throughout our apartment. For over 15 months I’d kiss his picture good night. As our little daughter began to talk and walk, she’d go over to her daddy’s photo and say, “Dada, nite, nite” or “Dada bye, bye.” Sometimes she’d look to me to hand her the photograph of her daddy so she could kiss, hug, or put it in to her little baby doll buggy and take it for a ride.
On a beautiful crisp morning I was outside hanging diapers on the clothesline when I heard my little girl, who was behind me in her playpen, say, "Dada.” It was not unusual for her to chatter about her daddy, but then she said something I had never heard her say before. She said, "Dada home, Dada home!"
I quickly turned around to find that she was announcing her daddy's homecoming with her arms stretched out to the daddy she had only known in photographs.
It took my breath away to see our daughter swept up in her daddy’s arms. I rushed to join them in our hearts’ embrace; with tears in my eyes, I repeated her refrain, “Dada home, Dada home.”