Of all the deployments my husband has been on, I think this will be the hardest on the boys. It’s been 5 years since his last deployment but the kids were younger and really didn’t have a sense of time. Sure they were surprised when he came home but they carried on as if he was gone for a day. Now that they are ten years old things are different.
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These past months, my husband’s ship has been engaging in several “underways” (this is when ships have to test their equipment and pass rigorous inspections before a deployment). These underways can last anywhere from a week to three weeks at a time.
In a way, this has helped the boys to prepare for the “big one” but they are getting anxious knowing this deployment will be for seven months. They are thinking about their dad missing Halloween (again), Thanksgiving, Christmas, the New Year, and Easter. But we reassure them that he will be here by their 11th birthday.
As for me, well, I’m a big girl and no longer new to this. It is never easy but we have to make the best of it. Below are some things that we (the boys and I) are planning to do to make these next seven months bearable.
Things You Can Do While They Are Deployed
First, I created a ‘kisses’ jar. I saw this some time ago on Pinterest and apologize for not remembering the person who came up with it. I didn’t have ribbons so I got a little creative and made a red, white, and blue ‘paper’ ribbon.
Then I just used clipart to create the Navy emblem, anchor, and flag hearts. In the middle I taped a label stating “A Kiss Every Day for When I’m Away”. The boys helped tape everything in place. Then we counted out the number of days dad will be gone (times 2, of course) and filled the jar with all those lovely Hershey kisses. Although they are not looking forward to his leaving, they can’t wait to start having a ‘kiss’ every night.
Deployment Newsletter for Kids
Next, I came up with an idea to create a weekly newsletter as opposed to just writing a regular letter to dad. The boys liked the idea. We worked on the layout of the “newsletter” and came up with different sections we can add, such as a ‘pic of the week’, comics, weather, local, and national news. We even plan to update him on the latest hockey scores.
Update: I created a newsletter template that you can print out for free. Click here to read about the ‘deployment newsletter’.
We know that it gets busy on the boat and taking the time to write a letter back to us when really there isn’t any news on his end is hard. So, we added a section with questions that he can answer and then mail back. This way the boys get something from him in the mail.
Create a Deployment Wall
Update: Click here and check out our deployment wall. I’ve also included some free printables to help create your own.
And finally, we will most likely travel during the holidays to stay with family. It is during these times, that the boys really need their cousins to help keep their mind off of missing their dad and I need my siblings to do the same.
I know that looking at all that candy and keeping track of the days seems to serve as reminder that he is gone but I am hoping that the boys, instead, focus on how much their dad loves them and wishes that he was here with us instead. I also hope that the ‘newsletters’ help keep my husband’s spirits up and that he knows we are missing him and thinking of him always.
Deployment Wall Printables
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