Creative deployment countdown ideas for adults and children to measure time together. Seeing time pass with this family project.
When its time for your spouse to deploy you think of anything to distract yourself and your children. You go to the park more and find other moms to chat with while all of your kids play.
You call your family as much as possible, and if you’re lucky they may plan a visit. But at the end of the day somehow you want to measure time.
So you buy a calendar for them to mark down the days, counting the remaining ones if you’re close enough to homecoming. You buy candy jars and fill them with kisses for a kiss from dad every night. Then you secretly add a few more when he gets delayed.
You find a friend to lean on and put extra chocolate in the cupboards. But one way or another, they want to know when and how much longer does two months look like?
Finding a way to measure time that you can see
It was our oldest daughters first time saying goodbye to her dad and really understanding what that meant. Not a TDY, not training for a few weeks during her school year, which would give her a nice distraction. He was leaving the beginning of summer and would not be back until after school started.
The friends from school and that distraction of time were gone. Since we were still new to the area, and not living on base where the the playgrounds are full in the evening, I knew I needed something to keep her and her sister in good spirits.
We Planted a Little Garden
So we decided to plant a garden. One that they could water and watch grow each day.
The idea was that by the time we had red tomatoes, daddy would be close to coming home.
Together we went to Home Depot and picked up a couple of small tomato plants and some basil.
All through the summer she took care of her garden. Watering them every day and watching them grow from six inch plants into giant tomato plants. It was a labor of love and she was so excited to give her dad a tomato she had grown herself.
Only Green Tomatoes
By the middle of summer we had so many green tomatoes! Every morning she would run and check to see if any had turned red. But every morning it was the same, all green.
I was beginning to think that chocolate kisses would have been a far better idea.
Day before homecoming
It was the day before his homecoming. The girls played outside all that late afternoon in the sprinkler and summer sun. Finally it was time to come in and get ready for bed, but one more time she needed to look for tomatoes. She ran over to her garden looking frantically for one to give her dad.
Her eager eyes and beautiful smile were beginning to fade, when finally she found one ripe tomato.
It was time for daddy to come home.
Other ways to countdown
Watching our garden grow was a fun way to track time, but if tomatoes arn’t your thing try using holidays or events to measure time. Sadly the mom or dad who’s deployed may miss a birthday, but maybe they will be here for trick or treating!
Focus on the fun family events coming up and talk about the ones they miss as one step, one day, or month closer to all being together again.
Chocolate kisses in a jar is fun but why not amp up the entire evening with a story from dad! Try purchasing a recordable storybook before they deploy. That way they can hear a story every night along with a message just for them. (Great for grandparents too!)