Indulge me for a moment and imagine this. Your significant other is ready to deploy. He is leaving for a year and has made it clear that you are the love of his life and can’t wait to be back in your arms. You know that he loves you with all his heart, and you are already having a hard time holding back the tears. With one last kiss, one last hug, he turns and joins the rest of the troops in formation. The tears start to stream now, as two columns march from the building to awaiting busses. They are gone. It will be months before you see your beloved again. What are you going to do?
After the long drive home (distance doesn’t really matter at this point,) you discover a package waiting for you on the front step. You don’t think much of it, but curios
ity gets the best of you. You retrieve the box. It’s plain enough. Brown paper covers the entire thing. There is no address, no return address and no stamp. The only writing, you recognize because it is that of your Soldier. The only words read, “Because I love you.” Tears stream again. One last gift from your best friend and lover is just what is needed in these opening moments of the hardest year of your life. With anticipation, you rush inside to retrieve knife. Just what could be inside.
Ok, snap out of it. For most of you the story above probably never happened. I do believe that a lot of men can remember to leave a card, or some flowers before they deploy. But, for the majority, a hug and a kiss will have to suffice. We just aren’t wired to think in a way that would register that some meaningful gesture would go a long way toward making the year much easier for you. Heck, my wife never left me anything either. I think the military members are just so focused on their mission and their training that they forget that their significant others are starting a deployment too.
That doesn’t mean they don’t care. Of course, they do. They care about us, and I bet that if they had the time to think about it and to come up with something great, each and every one of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coastguardsmen would put together a care package for us, just like we do for all of them. I bet they would choose carefully what objects would go into that package. I bet they would all be personal, meaningful and helpful in some way. I bet it would truly scream, “Because I love you.”
With all that in mind, I have designed my ideal “Deployment Survival Kit.” This kit isn’t for the military man who is deployed, but rather for the significant other back at home. It is a combination of tangible and intangible items that I believe every man would want his wife to have. From this man’s perspective, these are the things you need in order to make the longest year of your life go by much faster and easier. From this man’s perspective, putting these items in your life toolbox will help you deal with issues you might not even know you had. From this man’s perspective, this box will keep you from crying yourself to sleep every night, pining for his return.
So read on, and pretend that I am your husband, and I am putting this box together for you. When you first open the box there will be a letter.
My Dearest Dream,
You are opening this box now, which means that I am on my way. I want you to know that I am thinking about you every minute. I am counting down the months, weeks, days, hours and minutes until I get to be home with you again. Until I can be home, please accept this Deployment Survival Kit as a sign of my love, affection and desire for you to be happy during this time. Let me tell you what’s in it.
First, I have put some Pictures and Videos in the box. Nothing reminds me of you more than pictures of the places we’ve been and of the memories we’ve made. I know that you could look at our Facebook profiles at 1000’s of pictures, but I also know there is just something about holding a picture in your hands. It’s personal and real. Plus, if you fall asleep looking at my picture, dropping it on the floor or rolling over on top of it won’t hurt it. If you do the same with your computer, you may not be able to look at those pictures again. I have also included our wedding video, the rafting trip we took on our honeymoon and a few personal conversations I made for you to watch when you need too.
Because I don’t want you to be sad, I have included some Inspirational Items in the box.. Your Bible is in their with some verses marked. I put in your favorite movie and some uplifting music I found. Also, you may like the poster with the quotes and sayings I found from others who have faced similar situations. Finally, I included another letter, it contains all the reasons I love you and why you are a such a special human being.
I want to be clear about something right here. Sweetheart, you must never feel guilty for having a little bit of fun while I am away. To make sure you do get out and have some fun I have included Gift Cards in the box. I am going to be sad and a little angry if you decide to stay home and hide yourself just because I am away. Your misery does not equate love to me. Get out of the house and go get some coffee. Go to a movie. Go have a girls’ night with the other wives who are stuck in their ruts and their houses. Just because my job has taken me to a place where fun is at a premium does not mean you have stop living your life. Here are some gift cards to all your favorite places, USE THEM!
Can I just say that there is something about you wearing my t-shirt that just about drives me crazy? I don’t know what it is, but the idea that you wrap yourself in something of mine makes me want to wrap myself around you. That’s why for the deployment, I am leaving you one of my t-shirts with just a spritz of my cologne. Wear it if you would like or put it on a pillow. Just know that I am here with you in spirit and I can’t wait to take the shirt back from you, whether you are wearing it or not.
The final tangible item I am putting in the box is a little naughty, but hopefully the results will be nice. It’s an adult Toy complete with extra batteries. I know that we all have physical needs, and the miles between us shouldn’t mean that our sexual relationship needs to be put on hold. I fully expect that you to use this when you are alone, or when we are on Skype or even the telephone together. My only request is that you think of me, dream of our time together and be waiting eagerly for my return when you can put the toy down for the real thing.
Those are the five items in the box that you can pick up and hold, but I want you to know that the box isn’t empty. There are 5 other things in the box that you are going to need to survive. They are things I need you to know; things I need you to understand. Because I love you, I give you these intangible gifts, knowing you will be able to use them.
The first is Trust. I want you to know that 100% completely, I trust you. I know that you are never going to cheat on me, but it goes much deeper than that. I trust you with every aspect of our life while I am away. I know that you are going to take car of our house, and our cars with delicate attention to detail. I know that I don’t have to worry about the dogs and cats or about the yard getting mowed. I know that I can trust you to make sure that our financial situation is straight and that life will go on as if I had never been gone once I come home. I thank you in advance for all that you will do.
The second is Freedom. Like I have stated before, I don’t want you sitting at home pining for my return, which is why I am giving you freedom to get out and do whatever it is you need to do to survive this deployment. If you need to go smack some golf balls to release frustration, please do. If you need to go spend time with friends on the other side of the country, I understand. Please take the opportunity to do all the things you want.
Third, I would like to give you A Mission. I cannot come up with the mission for you. This is something you must come up with on your own. The premise is simple though. What are you going to do today that will make you a better overall person tomorrow. Take a class, or start a new hobby. Maybe you can finally start training for that ½ marathon you have always wanted to do. Decide to set some goals and then work to achieve those goals. You can do it. I know you can.
Hopefully, I have done a good job of giving you this gift over our time together and that is A Little Know-How. I am including it in the box because I know that you won’t turn small emergencies into larger problems. When there is a leaky faucet or a flat tire, a little know-how will get you a long way. Do you know where my tools are? How about the emergency numbers just in case? Did you know that just using Google or stopping into Home Depot and asking could solve most problems? I know there will be some issues that you can’t handle on your own, but I am putting a little know how in the box, so that you can tackle the smaller ones with ease.
There is one thing left in the box my darling, and I don’t want you to get angry or upset when I tell you about it. They are in the box because you are going to need them if you are going to survive this deployment. There is just no way around it. So here they are, your very own pair of Big Girl Panties. I love the sensitive side of you. I love that you miss me and that you want me to be home with you. I love that you are waiting anxiously to see me again. But, and I mean this in the most loving way. You cannot let those emotions rule this year. You are going to have to suck it up and drive on. You are going to have to push through. You can’t be beaten by the adversity; you have to put on these big girl panties and fight. I love you, and I know you can be strong, be brave and be powerful when you have to be.
So there it is, your deployment survival kit. Please use each of the items in this box to its full potential. It will help you get through the year and before you know it, I will be home, and we will be in one another’s arms.
If you remember nothing else from this letter, remember this; the army may have my body, my attention, and my presence, but you will always be the only one who has my heart.
All my love and affection,