What’s the upside to starting a deployment? Getting it over with!
Before a deployment, my husband and I work together on getting ready for the inevitable, and that includes a lot of talking. Tried to ignore the elephant in the room in the past and that didn’t work so well. The first thing we check up on is us. Any unresolved major issues that could have an impact during the deployment period, decisions that can be discussed face-to-face, should be before departure.
We do an assessment on the kids. This go around, we thought the youngest would have the most difficulty. I’m so glad that the time of major angst for the older ones has passed. It has surprisingly been their time to shine as supporters of both of us. The youngest has learned to express sadness and confusion, but is happier for doing so.
To help the kids, I bought a Flat Daddy and a Daddy Doll. My husband recorded a story on a Hallmark recordable book that I bought at the Exchange. They love hearing his voice at night and I’ll admit that I have Flat Daddy in my room like a rock star poster.
I also did what is now my pre-deployment routine. I grabbed a few customs forms, packing tape, picked up some USPS Priority Mail boxes and stocked up on cards to send out several times a week. Technology is great, but there is nothing like receiving a letter or package.
I make a calendar on a digital photo site for each deployment from family photos that cover the months of absence. It also allows me to add in important dates for him to remember and put messages of support on random dates. When I have a few months of pictures from things we’ve done in his absence, I make a digital scrapbook and have it shipped directly to him. There are many options available for sending happiness to a not-so-happy place.
This is just what we do to prepare for separations and what has been tried and true for us over the years.
As for homecoming? I’m all over it! Never too early to prepare for that.
What do you do to prepare your family for deployment?