05 May 2015
We've all heard of homecoming countdowns. The basic concept is this you count the number of days deployment is projected for, fill up a jar with candy or pennies and then remove one item each day, as the jar gets empty you have a visual reminder that its almost over...
those damn dates are written with disappearing ink, not stone.
When Big Sexy deployed to Iraq in 2009, I had three kids at home - sorry not kids - kids go to school, are potty trained and can communicate with words - I had two toddlers and a baby at home (3, 2 and 7 months). So the idea of emptying a jar was just too abstract for them... I was worried about the disappointment if the date changed and the jar was empty, so I canned the whole concept.
Then we stopped over my friend Crystal's house and everywhere I looked there was color and fun. She and her boys were marking their successful journey through deployment. They were making a Homecoming Chain.
Never one to have an original thought I jumped on that bandwagon and grabbed some construction paper on my way home.
We started our homecoming chain a little late, but it was a great experience. Each day the kids and I would sit down and talk about our day. I'd write little notes so I could tell the big guy about our time when he was away, and the kids would draw and scribble all over the other side. Soon our home was filled with color and reminders that even though it wasn't easy - we were working hard to make it through.
Well we've started for this go 'round and I'm looking forward to seeing it grow - the longer it gets the closer he is to coming home.
Have fun with your chain. Use flowers or hearts, color coordinate with their branch of service or favorite football team. Be creative and have fun. We keep ours simple, but my kids are young and sometimes simple = maintaining my sanity.
We have choices in life, even when there are aspects which are out of our control. You can be crushed by your emotions or you can respond with action. Every day isn't a cake walk, but you can grow stronger through hardship.
XO XO & Stuff,
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