WHEN baby Dottie was born, Tamworth's Madison and Jessie Smith knew they would only have six weeks together with their new child before Madison left to train for the NSW Police Force.
The pair planned plenty of visits throughout the duration of his 16 week training program with the Police Academy in Goulburn.
Madison packed his bags and hit the road on June 19 ready for the new journey, but as the state's Delta outbreak worsened, lockdowns returned.
He hasn't seen baby Dottie, or children Maison and Darcie since.
"We knew that he would be gone for 16 weeks, but we at least thought we would get some visits in," partner Jessie said.
"The training starts early on a Monday morning about 5am and they don't finish until 6pm Friday afternoons, so we thought we would go and visit him, but that obviously hasn't been able to happen."
And it won't for some time, with Golbourn's lockdown preventing the pair from seeing each other until October 8 when Madison will graduate from the academy and travel home, before being posted to Casino as a police officer.
Mrs Smith said the support of close friends has been a shining light as the family waits for a treasured visit with dad.
"Any other time of the year it would have been fine, but having the baby at six weeks when he left, that's quite a stressful time for any new mum," she said.
To other families who may also be separated due to lockdown she said the most important thing to remember is "your emotions are valid".
"If you're happy, sad, or angry you're allowed to be, and that's okay, but seek help and sort through anything," she said.
"I'm actually seeing a counsellor at the moment because him being away brought me down a lot, and I just think it's important that everybody seeks that help that they might need to talk through how they're feeling."
Until the long-awaited visit, FaceTime has been the new normal for the Tamworth family who have been able to share precious memories from their child's first weeks from afar.
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