When your soldier is half a world away (literally!), it can sometimes be very hard to stay connected with each other. Especially since the communication tends to only originate from one side (and its not yours!). Below are a few ways that you can stay connected throughout a deployment.
1. Pick a star before he leaves so you can look up at that star and tell each other good night.
2. Fill his bags and things heís taking with him with notes from you or little bags with notes inside that say theyíre filled with hugs or kisses. He can do the same for you.
3. Buy two of the same book and read it together while heís gone. This will also give you something to talk about it when he calls (on the off chance that you run out of things to say!)
4. Decide to learn something new together. For instance, you could both decide to learn a foreign language. Buy the books or tapes and learn the language together. You can practice on phone calls and emails.
5. Start a daily journal and every month exchange journals with each other.
6. Write a story together over email. This could be a simple story or maybe even a fantasy for the both of you. Write a paragraph, send it to him, he adds a paragraph, sends it back to you and so on. You could also do this through the mail.
7. Have a contest to see who can send the funniest cards or letters.
8. Each of you can choose a special date or vacation for when he returns. Keep it secret but send each other clues about it. Be creative in your clues Ė they donít necessarily have to be written clues!
9. If you scrapbook, send him disposable cameras to take pictures for you to scrap. You can present the completed book to him when he returns. Make sure he gives you descriptions for your pictures. Note: Be sure this does not violate his unitís OPSEC guidelines!
10. Before he leaves, make sure he leaves you lots of messages. My husband leaves me voice messages on our answering machine and my cell phoneís voicemail. He also leaves a handwritten letter and a text message on my cell phone. No matter where I am, I always have access to his voice or a note from him.
11. If youíre brave enough, write steamy letters or emails to him. If you just canít bring yourself to do the actual writing, visit www.pillowmail.com. Itís free and theyíll do the writing for you!
12. Communicate often through whatever means you have available to you whether itís the mail, email, internet chat or packages. Let each other know youíre thinking of each other. On my husbandís third deployment, I got a letter in the mail from him. It was the first actual letter Iíve received through the mail from any of his deployments Ė it was like gold to me (and still is!). Something simple can mean a lot!
Stacey Abler is an Army Wife and owner of the website, http://www.marriedtothearmy.com.
In addition, she also operates several Cafepress stores - http://www.cafepress.com/soldierswife for Army families and http://www.cafepress.com/soldierswife2 for Navy, Marine and Air Force families.