Today I helped Emily's 1st grade class decorate pillowcases for returning single soldiers, who won't have family to meet them at the airport. It is part of Operation Headrest. An idea thought of by a wife here, who noticed how sad it can be for those soldiers without loved ones nearby to welcome them home.
I think it's a neat idea, but also a little hokey. I'll admit, the picture book she read to the kids made me tear up (that happens a lot to me), but I have a nagging feeling that a puff-painted pillowcase with "My Hero" (hero spelled wrong) hand written by a 1st grader is maybe not the hero's welcome these guys and girls are hoping for. I could be wrong.
With those pillowcases in mind and the fact that this deployment is ending and a new deployment that affects our family is right around the corner, I've been doing a little how-to-cope research. This may be totally sacrilegious to write, and I may get banned from SpouseBuzz, but there are some really silly (and rather sad, when you think about it - "your dad couldn't make it tonight to your 8th grade graduation because he's out fighting bad guys in Iraq, but do you want me to bring Flat Daddy along for the pictures?") ideas floating around out on teh internets to help support families of troops. And some really good ones (I think I'm going to order a couple soldiers bracelets as stocking stuffers, attractive though certainly not life changing) - but just for tonight, let me list some of the sillier ones, okay?
Take the Daddy doll. Just send in a photo of your loved one in uniform and we will make it into a precious doll. And when you 3 year old misses his daddy, tell her to go snuggle her Daddy Doll. I find that a wee bit disturbing, (though come January I may go out and buy me some iron on transfers...)
Or the Huggee Missee Security Doll fromCuddle Babies. Just slip a photo of your loved one behind the plastic-sleeved face. (nice hair cut, but still odd, though reasonably priced)
Or my personal favorite, and one I'm actually planning to try (mainly because my neighbor has one and
I can see myself driving around town with Flat Nate propped up in the passenger seat....
Good thing they offer free, confidential, counseling...