“Family Home Evening Helps: Military Mail,” Ensign, June 2008, 75
My husband, Paul, is gone for months at a time serving in the military, so we often have to work harder to keep our family connected. At least once a month I send a package, and we often send letters, sometimes daily, in addition to regular e-mails. We like to liven up our correspondence, as you’ll see from some of our favorite ideas.
• Audiovisual recordings. Sometimes I record our daughters doing a play, dance, or talent show. Other times I ask Paul to record his thoughts on a particular subject. Then I play his comments at the end of our family home evening lesson or activity. I have to plan ahead for this because, in our case, mail delivery takes at least three weeks.
• Pictures. Every other month we take creative pictures of us. Once we used a photo booth at a store to machine-draw our pictures. We also posed for a western-style photo. I take lots of everyday photos, which we organize in a scrapbook and send to Paul. Sometimes we put little comment stickers on the pictures or write about silly things we were thinking when the pictures were taken.
• Date coupons. Before Paul leaves for duty, he likes to take our daughters out separately for a special date night of their choice. After he left, I implemented a similar idea and gave the girls 12 coupons each (written on small note cards), one for each month their dad would be gone. Each coupon was good for a date night with Mom. After we were done with an activity, each child would write about our date on the back of the coupon and send it to Dad. He loved receiving the cards and knew we were doing well while he was away.
• Parties. For special occasions it’s fun to prepare a “party package.” Before Paul’s birthday we had a party on his behalf with family and friends. We filmed the whole thing, talking to the camera as if we were talking to him. We sang a birthday song, and the tape ended when we told him to open his presents. Then we put the video, decorations from the party, treats, and presents in the package, which he received by his actual birthday.
All of these suggestions require a little planning, but I’ve found it’s good to keep busy while my husband is away. Though distance separates us, Paul does what he can to keep in touch, I do what I can, and Heavenly Father does the rest.