As our oldest son gets older, I find James’ deployments and TADs are becoming harder for JJ. He broke my heart the other night I saw him sitting on the couch with daddy and crying. He asked, “why do you have to leave again” after my husband broke the news. It was so much easier for me when JJ was just a little baby, I know he missed daddy then but I didn’t have to hear his heart broken plea of: where’s daddy? When will he be back? Why did he have to go?
With my husband’s promotion to Warrant Officer, we’ve had more separations than ever. I think within the last (almost) two years we’ve been together for a total of a few months. Don’t get me wrong, it is hard on everybody but is exceptionally hard on children, their whole world is turned upside down. The best part of deployments, or TADs, are the homecomings. There is no doubt about it. I love the glow in JJ’s face when he sees daddy, and then he takes off running.
To build up to the homecoming I have created a simple and fun countdown method with our oldest. We take a desk calendar and circle the day daddy will be returning in colorful sharpies. With every passing day he eagerly crossed up the days, inching closer and closer to daddy.
More fun ways to countdown a Deployment!
Remember making paper chain links in school? Counting down the days to Christmas, which seemed like eternity! Making paper chains as a deployment countdown can be just as fun as well. All you need is different color construction paper, scissors, and glue (or tape!) to make these bad boys.
I’ve used a chalk board my husband made for me when we were pregnant with our oldest, JJ. He made it for me from scratch, or you can buy one made, and I used it to track my belly. You know, all the cool moms are doing it. Another way you can countdown the days to homecoming is using the chalkboard.
You can add the number of days your spouse will be gone and allow your children to update the number as the days go by. The great thing about chalk boards is that you can customize it to your liking. Or kids can make sweet doodles for mommy or daddy to see when they get home!
Candy in a Jar
This is one of the easiest and fun ways to countdown until mommy or daddy gets home. You will need a mason jar, candy (Hersey’s kisses, M&Ms, etc.), and paper to label the jar:
“Eat one candy each day, when the jar is empty… DADDY / MOMMY WILL BE HOME!”
It doesn’t have to specifically say that, make it unique! Let your child help you decide on what goes on the jar. They will love taking part in making the countdown jar.
Do you have a fun way to countdown with your kiddos? Let me know!