handprints to help bridge the distance

As the dreaded moment of “see you later” quickly approaches we are always mindful of ways to help ease the pain and ache of the long┬áseparation. With four deployments under our belt you’d think we’d have some type of traditions set up, but we’re not particularly close to that yet. We always do what feels right for us.

Our last deployment Little B gave his Daddy a beloved plastic iguana to keep with him, with the purpose to help ease any sadness. Somehow he always felt better when his Daddy would remind him that he was carrying it with him daily. We’ve also used electronic photo frames to record messages to each other, and honestly, hearing Brooks’ voice on particularly hard days lends me strength when I need it the most.

Call me sappy, but I like to keep an unwashed shirt of his nearby, and usually sleep it with it at night. Yup, unwashed.

This deployment we were pretty excited to be given a Daddy Doll at a recent deployment briefing. The doll has way too much hair, so we’re bound to give it a trim.

Brooks also went out and got Little B a pair of dog tags made. He had the following saying inscribed on them:

I love you and you’re special,

I’m proud of you

and you’re mine.

It’s a play on what Krish Dhanam says to his son every night. After attending Camp Better America’s camp this past year, and hearing him speak, we were touched at this ritual they had and thought it would be a great way to remind Brooks daily of how near he is to his Daddy’s heart.

Lastly, a dear friend of mine put a link up on Facebook about a project she had seen elsewhere. A mother who had to leave her son from time to time decided to put her handprint on Shrinky Dink plastic and melt it down so her son could wear her handprint while she was away from him. We did the same, only we had both Brooks’ create handprints so they could each carry one with them.

I’d say we’re as ready as we’re going to be.

I refuse to think that sadness and tears are a sign of weakness. Although my heart is breaking, I’m ready to face this deployment with courage and strength, regardless of the amount of tears I shed.