Wave after wave of intense contractions and where is that guy who got me into this mess in the first place? Stuck in airport traffic.
That’s probably a nightmare scenario for most first-time moms. The airport for me, though, was Baghdad International Airport.
On an early December morning, I watched the love of my life board a bus that would take him away for a year. Two days later, I found out I was pregnant. Eight months later, I was laboring to bring our daughter into this world. Two days after that, my soldier, our soldier made it home for a two-week leave.
Like so many military spouses, I gave birth to one of our children–our first child–during my husband’s deployment to Iraq. To fulfill his duty, he missed the pregnancy and the birth and later the first smile and the first giggle. We exchanged photographs and video chatted and recorded his rich baritone singing lullabies but you just never get those moments and milestones back. One of the things I’ve learned, though, is that there is never a perfect time. There is only now.
So we fill our hearts with every moment we get, like the first time a father holds his newborn child in his arms and her tiny eyes flutter open. Your spirit can survive a long time on a memory like that, especially when you have it recorded in all its unsnapped onesie, exposed diaper and umbilical stump, cluttered background glory. I dare any photography studio to top that!
What do you give Dad when he can’t spend time with his family? I think deployed dads want a connection with their children most of all.
Photo Gifts: You could make a cute “Daddy” photo montage where the kids each hold up a letter to spell “Daddy.” You can also print a photo on just about anything these days–so if Dad likes coffee, get him a mug with his kids’ smiling mugs on it!
Kids’ Artwork & Interviews: Older children can draw a picture of Daddy. Ask the kids to answer questions about their dad and write the answers on the back of the artwork: What does Daddy do at work? What does your Daddy enjoy? What is Daddy very good at? What do you like doing with Daddy? At least a few of the answers will make him laugh out loud.
Baked Goods: When my husband was deployed, he mostly wanted homemade goodies. We vacuum sealed them and dessert arrived in the desert fresh and yummy. Older kids can help with the baking.
Entertainment: Every deployment is different but most seem to consist of lots of dangerous work broken up by long periods of waiting. Gadgets, games, books, and movies or television series that help Dad pass the time are always a big hit. Bonus points if your older kids can play, read, or watch, too, and compare notes with Dad.
Our service members sacrifice so much–including births, birthdays, milestones, anniversaries, graduations, recitals, school plays, championship games, and, of course, Father’s Days.
That’s why it is so exciting that Dove Men + Care is partnering with Operation Homefront give 300 servicemembers (dads and moms) what they really want this Father’s Day: quality time with their families. Just look at this video (grab the tissues) to see what they are doing to make this a special Father’s Day.
I KNOW you want to help after watching that, right? Well you can! In addition to purchasing any Dove Men+Care products (perfect for any care package to Dad), you can also visit the Dove Mission: Care page and leave a message for the troops!
GIVEAWAY: THERE’S MORE! You can also enter to win a Dove Men+Care prize-pack giveaway (ARV $20). To enter, just leave a message for the troops and then comment on this post to let me know what encouraging words you shared! Winner chosen at random. Giveaway ends June 19, 2013 at 11:59pm EST. Shipping to US + APO, only.