As most of you know, my husband is in the Navy. What some may not know is that his ship is set to leave on deployment two weeks after my due date. How brutal is that right?
As much as it breaks my heart that he will miss the first seven months of his daughters life, what gives me comfort is knowing how many other military families there are out there who have a parent, or maybe even two, that is gone for long periods of time. If you have a military parent, it’s just inevitable and all you can do is make the transition easier on yourself, them and ultimately your child.
Ever since finding out I was pregnant and realizing that Tyler was going to be away for a big chunk of the first year of her life, I was determined to do everything I can so that my daughter knows who her dad is when he gets back. Of course we will Skype and talk on the phone as much as possible, but, the reality is we won’t be able to do that as often as I would like…and there will be periods where we wont have any verbal communication for weeks.
So, I have found some great things out there for Military families who are separated from their loved one:
- Document: As hard as this will be for you and your child, imagine what it is going to be like for the parent who is in the middle of nowhere. We decided to invest in a really great camera, and my parents bought us a good quality video camera. My goal is to document our growing little girl every day with pictures and videos to send to my husband so he feels like he is not missing out. I don’t want him to see his newborn daughter and then not even recognize her when he gets home 7 months later!
2. Voice Recognition: Although our daughter will not have any clue what is going on since she will be a newborn/infant, I still want her to be familiar with Tyler’s voice. My sister in law bought us this AWESOME children’s book called “Goodnight Moon.” It has a built in recording option so that Tyler can record his voice reading the story before he leaves and we will play it for her EVERY night. That way, she will know the routine of hearing her dad read this story at bed time. My plan for when he comes home is for him to continue reading that story every night.
3. Daddy Dolls: [Or Mommy Dolls.] These adorable dolls are probably better for the older children, but I am still planning on getting one for my little one. They are plush figures with a full size picture of the Military parent (in uniform if you wish) printed on the front. That way the kids can take Daddy or Mommy wherever they go!
There are so many resources and different products out there to keep your children connected with their loved one who are so far away. I think it is so important to have the military parent extremely known to your child, even when they can’t be there.