Yep, it’s true. Deployments are one of the hardest (and lamest!) parts of this Army wife life.
But in true Army wife fashion, we don’t have time to wallow in the challenge. Sure, we can give ourselves permission to feel bummed out about it, but we just can’t park there for too long. After all, our kids need to be fed and stuff, so we have to actually do the things.
One great thing about being an Army wife is our ability to make challenging things and “normal” words (like nouns) into verbs. For instance: I’m a big fan of teaching others “How to America!”
But don’t worry. This post isn’t going to turn into a grammar lesson.
Hopefully, if you are in the same boat (or boots?) as we are, this post will inspire you to “Deployment” with courage and grace.
Before we dive into this, please note I am NOT crafty or “Pinteresty.” (There I go again, changing another word format.) I AM resourceful, but nobody is ever going to hire me to make a cute wreath for their door or host a huge birthday party with all homemade decorations.
However, when it comes to deployment-ing, I dig deep and engage my inner office supplies nerd.
So this, my friends, is “How We Deployment.” If we have to do this, we are going to embrace the suck and get creative.
This picture is, as the nifty bulletin board letters above spell out, our “Daddy Deployment Wall.” I did see an example of this on Pinterest, then made it our own. Clearly, we have various pics of my husband/kids’ daddy, which is super cool since every time we walk by, my 21-month-old son says, “DADDY!” We also have a world map with pins in our two locations, as well as clocks with the correct time in each locale… mainly because time zones make my brain hurt.
And let’s be honest, when solo-parenting and doing AWN stuff and PhD stuff, and, and, and, all day, brain energy is a high commodity.
We have a folder on the wall for “Daddy Mail” to send him each week(ish). On the upper left hand side, you’ll notice our “Deployment Bucket List.” Some of the items include: all-day PJ day, breakfast for dinner (probably 1-7 times per week), make kombucha, go on a hike, and about 25 other items. They are just fun or interesting things to help us pass the time and stay engaged as we miss our soldier.
This next part was a lot of work to set up, but it’s been fun so far. You are probably familiar with the no-plan-plan life that is the military. For me, countdowns are kind of dangerous, because even if the official orders say “no longer than 270 days” for deployment, we all know that can change in an instant. And lemme tell you, doing a paper chain countdown then needing to add MORE links at the very end will crush your soul (OK, only slight exaggeration).
Instead of a paper chain countdown, we created a tile/board game-type count UP. Daddy/Hubs is like our little “game piece” and each day we move him one square farther on the path. The “tiles” are made out of scrapbook paper and stamped with a library type date stamp to help me keep track of the right date with the number of days he has been gone. The path goes ALL the way around our (very large) living room, and I have spare days/tiles built in there, so at best case scenario we get to take tiles down should he come home on time-ish.
One of the staples of deployment life is chocolate… so every night before bed, my 5-year-old gets a “kiss from Korea.” The original theory was that when the jar is empty, Daddy will be home (and adding extra “kisses” is less devastating than a visual countdown—at least I think so). However, Mama (me) and the toddler have been “needing” kisses from Korea too, so our overall countdown is already off. Whatever. It works. And good theory.
Finally, one of the most fun aspects of this deployment so far is our amazing “Flat Daddy.” Not sure where the idea came from, but it’s been so entertaining to take “Flat Daddy” places and have adventures. Plus, it helps me remember to take pictures (since I am normally not so awesome at remembering)!
Dear readers: How do YOU “deployment?” Leave a comment below and let us hear all about it.