A couple weeks ago I went to the library and checked out a handful of books written for and/or by military spouses. I didn’t get a chance to read all of the books before their due date, but there was one book in my pile that I read in one sitting.
“I’m Already Home…Again” by Elaine Gray Dumler is a compilation of creative deas for staying close with a spouse who is deployed. Some I’ve heard of before. Some I’ll never use. But some I loved so much that I started employing them as soon as I put the book down. My favorite ideas revolve around my kids and their ages, but the book is appropriate regardless of whether or not you have children or if your children are older. So thanks to Elaine Dumler, here are my… Top 10 Ways to Stay Connected With Your Spouse During Deployments
10) Select a pre-set time each day for family members to think about each other.
9) Make a memory box filled with some of your husband’s favorite things so you and the kids can go through it to feel like he’s still there.
8) Write a Legacy Letter. Start a letter to your husband with a few sentences in the morning, and then add sentences throughout the day. (This is perfect for people like me who always forget their mental list of things to write about the second we pick up that pen to write a letter.)
7) Set one of the clocks in your house to the time zone where your husband is. This helps you and the kids think about what he might be doing at that moment.
6) Make a family newsletter. Include family events and other interesting family-related tidbits like an interview with a grandparent, movie reviews, question of the week, list of birthdays, jokes, or thoughts of the day. Put an issue out every couple of weeks or once a month.
5) Grab your husband’s unwashed t-shirts and slip it over the kids’ pillows as a pillowcase. (I don’t know that I’d use it as a pillowcase because then at some point I’d have to wash it, but I do put a couple of his unwashed t-shirts into a baggie to take a sniff whenever I need a pick-me-up.)
4) Count down the deployment with your kids with paper chain links. Tear off a link every day and write a “love note” on it to give to your husband when he comes home.
3) Have the kids make a daddy box. Let them fill it with anything they want to show daddy when he gets home. When he does come home, each child can share special time with him as they go through the box.
2) Trace handprints of everyone in the family so your husband can hold your hands whenever he wants to while he’s gone.
1) Start a journal for the kids to write in every day to tell daddy what they’re doing. They can draw pictures and/or write about something that made them happy or sad, something that happened at school, things they want to do with daddy when he returns, etc.
What tops your list?