Bedtime Stories, From A Dad In Afghanistan
Karri Bielwicz was five months pregnant when she found out her husband, Ken, was going to be sent to Afghanistan for a year.
She scoured the Web and various military sources for ideas on how to keep their marriage going and how to keep him a constant presence in the life of their daughter, Abigail.
"A lot of the literature suggested that he read books, just to hear his voice," she tells NPR. "We made the decision to have Ken read to a camera five storybooks for Abigail."
So every night, mother and daughter open up the computer, hit play, and Daddy gets to read Abigail a story. From the goofy, interactive book Dancing Duck to the sentimental Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You, Abbey gets to see her father and hear his voice every night.
Bielwicz admits that during the first couple weeks of her husband's deployment, it was especially hard to watch him on that screen.
"I pretty much cried every time that he read to her, especially when she would point to him and say 'da da da da,'" she says.
But she feels the stories are doing Abigail a world of good as she adjusts to life without her father in the house.
"She definitely recognizes his voice and even tries to hug the computer once in a while. ... I think it will be helpful for her when he does come back," she says.
Ken Bielwicz is due to come home in February.
"That way he's not quite the stranger. She'll know his voice, she'll know what he looks like," Karri Bielwicz says. "So I think she'll be affectionate towards him and we can start our life as a family again — together."