The Daddy Book: Proof of Love and Commitment

March 26, 2012 | Categrory: kids and deployment, making deployment a time of growth for young children, military families

All families who have experienced the long days away of deployment, know that sometimes our perceptions are colored by our feelings of missing the one we love. This can turn to a belief that we NEVER get to be together and the slope of self pity that just sometimes happens for us all. We know that the work being done is important , but the connections are important too. We are in the midst of the deployment cycle as our soldier is in the “stan” and we here at home working to keep the connections fresh and happening!

I want to share with you a project I have been working on lately, one that you might want to take on as well. This can be as indiviual as your family, but I want to state the thinking behind it.  There are many things out there that are suggested for keeping connections between parent and child during long deployments. This one is created to span the length of a Military career, and a number of deployments.

Our family is now on four years and counting of our soldier being away from home. Two years in  Iraq, two in Germany and now in Afghanistan, will bring us eventually to five. I started the Daddy Book, so that my grandchildren could look at it whenever they want. They can see when Daddy was home, when he sent letters and photos while he was away, that e-mails came from him, and that through it all he has loved them, parented them, and been a father even while defending our country. Some of you will have longer or shorter deployments, but what matters is that the perceptions of being left, perhaps of missing out, can be spoken to, with proof of things that could otherwise be forgotten.

The Daddy Book is an ongoing mission. You can set in up in a million different ways; it can be a scrapbook as ours is, or a box you keep things in, or a file folder that is marked for each deployment. Kids can help, or you can make it for them, and just update it as things happen. Encourage the parent who is away to send notes, letters, photos and other things to add. Be sure to take lots of photos of family events and times together when you are finally reunited.  Here are a few photos of the Daddy Book  so far: in it there are the cards, letters and e-mails, photos, a Psalm 91 bandanna that he carried in Iraq, a coin from that same deployment. I have labeled each page with the post they were at, what they were doing and marked the times he came home and took them places they love, like the children’s museum and build a bear workshop. You will have your favorite memories too, and the kids will love to look through them.