Friday, March 28, 2014
PRE Deployment Care Packages
I was asked about the PRE Deployment box pics I posted on Facebook the week hubby left. I thought I would share those ideas here as well.
Leading up to the deployment I had attended several FRG (Family Readiness Group) meetings. As a newbie to the ship life I thought it would be a great way to learn the traditions, share some experiences and gain some wisdom from fellow spouses. Those meetings did just that for me. One of the things that stood out in my mind the most was care package packaging. We were warned several times of all the mishaps that can occur, the damage the package may undergo, the potential losses that have happened, as well as acceptable and unacceptable content allowed. It saddened me to learn that some spouses had learned that after several attempts of mailing care packages to their sailor and putting forth the effort to make them special, those packages fell overboard or were undelivered and their sailor never received them. SO SAD! What I took away from that was not to send anything valuable, electronic or meaningful like a family keepsake. I also thought to myself that wouldn't it be a shame if no matter what measure we took Daddy never received our packages. So, I instead thought about sending hubby on board with a box full of special surprises. I sent him a manilla envelope for every month he would be away. Inside each envelope was a note from us, a funny joke and for fun silly mustaches he is to wear and take a picture with! There will be 2 for every month. It's fun for him and fun for our boys! I also sent with him a customized calendar featuring all of our family's special dates; birthdays, anniversaries, vacation dates, etc. Each month features a picture of us from the year prior. So for example on Ty's birthday month, MARCH, I have a picture of him with his birthday cake and birthday hat. For October, our anniversary month, I have a picture of us on our date night last year. Within the calendar on the specific dates that are meaningful to us, I have inserted a special picture of momento. Then of course, on the LAST month, a countdown to when he's home! (the best month ever!!) And of course no care package is complete without some favorite tastes from home; a large jar of nutella, pistacios, almonds, beef jerkey and some assorted spices for the meals on the ship.
Also included in the PRE deployment care package is "Sailor Bear". Sailor Bear is acting as our version of Flat Stanley. He will accompany hubby on all his port stops and will have his picture taken and sent to the boys in an email or posted on Facebook (if there is WiFi). The boys are super stoked with that idea. Thankfully hubby has already been a good sport and posted some pics from his first port stop in Greece.
I got to see his reaction when he opened up the box before heading to the ship, unlike sending care packages in the mail. I can honestly say he loved it. In fact he did get a little choked up. (Kilgore brothers if you are reading this, you do not repeat that!) And seeing him in the picture with Sailor Bear is also very comforting. He actually took him out and about with him, while going on guided tours with grown adults. Now THAT my friends is love!
So that is what we did with our pre deployment care package. I feel good knowing that even though we are going to send care packages to him throughout his time underway, there is always going to be something already there, waiting for him to read, smell or unwrap when he misses us the most.