Two years ago, when my husband was deployed I could not have been more appreciative of all the methods of communication available to us! It didn’t hit me until then how much power and capability I have to connect with him from 7k miles away. And sometimes it was just seeing his face or hearing his voice that turned my hectic, overwhelming, stressful never-ending day into the best day ever. We sometimes talked multiple times a day and then there were times we went days without hearing from him. Those were the hardest days. The fear of the unknown or having to make a decision on your own when you need input from your spouse. Or just having the need the urge to connect even if it was thru technology. So, I used multiple ways to stay connected, not only for myself but also for him. Keeping him in the loop, allowing him in during those silly story times or memorable moments. I made them as shareable as I possibly could. I know some of those clips, videos, voicemails and letters pumped blood thru his heart.
Like I said I used multiple ways to stay connected.
Before my husband left we went and got him a new Apple computer to keep in touch and made sure he had all the tools he needed to stay in touch. We chose Apple because of the FaceTime feature and we all have iPhones so this worked for us. I didn’t realize how much I loved FaceTime. I mean, to get to see that person in real-time action is just priceless. To have the ability to catch and see the emotion, talk about your day and share events was such a great way to be able to stay and keep an active relationship. Although technology can be our best friend, it can also be unreliable and lead to disappointment and frustration when there is signal trouble or a deployed parent is unavailable beyond anyone’s control, or the communication gets disrupted. My kids used to cry when he wasn’t available, which is why the next one became our backup plan.
When we couldn’t get thru to daddy, I would just say,”Hey lets make a video!” This allowed the kids to share whatever they wanted to say and show him projects or things they were doing. There is nothing like a nice family video to make your day. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy long or edited. I usually text-messaged them and also emailed to make sure he got them. I know sending videos allowed him to save and look and listen to the videos whenever he couldn’t get in touch with us. I would record the kids singing, during milestones and events. It wasn’t the same as if he was there, but I know it made him feel included and in the loop.
So, my husband specifically activated his Facebook page for the purpose to communicate while he was deployed. This was great for when the phones were not working and we happened to miss each other due to time constraints or bad signals. We were able to at least say “Hi!,” check in or keep each other up-to-date with changes going on with each other, the family and event updates. We also used this to send funny things on Facebook like jokes, memes, recipes, music, videos, to share with each other. I used this a lot because I just wanted to share as much with him as I could. I know with him being overseas he was missing out on a lot of things here that we have easily accessible.
And, Good ‘ol fashion snail mail
Although this takes more time and effort, I feel this is the most appreciated. Each month we would send a themed box. We included, not only missed snacks and requests made by my spouse but also included school work the kids were proud of, kids artwork, holiday decorations and photos. There’s just something about the tangibility knowing that someone touched an object and holding it in your hands, the smell and textures can make it feel like we send home in a box. The kids love putting their own personal touch into the box, it makes them feel connected to their parent and keeps them actively involved and connected.
Deployment is hard on every family member and affects each of them differently. Another thing about deployment is that it never gets easy but communicating can help smooth the transition a bit. Do you use all or any of these ways to communicate? I would love to hear how it worked for your family.
About the Author:
Moni is a proud Puerto Rican Air Force Spouse and mother of 3 brilliant children, that has found time as a SAHM to finish her Bachelors in Public Relations. She has moved over 13 times as an Army brat and now an Air force MilSpouse. This has allowed her to see things from different views. During her husbands last deployment, she was inspired to write about her military lifestyle from a candid, sassy, bold and witty perspective. She hopes that by sharing her experiences that it will encourage other spouses to find their voice in this journey of constant change and uncertainty…all this has been accomplished with buckets of prayer, glasses of wine and a few colorful words.