Meeting Daddy After Deployment #MissionCare

DISCLOSURE: This post was sponsored by Dove Men+Care via MSB New Media. All opinions and words are my own. As always, my time can be hired but not my opinions are not for sale.

Wave after wave of intense contractions and where is that guy who got me into this mess in the first place? Stuck in airport traffic.

That’s probably a nightmare scenario for most first-time moms. The airport for me, though, was Baghdad International Airport.

On an early December morning, I watched the love of my life board a bus that would take him away for a year. Two days later, I found out I was pregnant. Eight months later, I was laboring to bring our daughter into this world. Two days after that, my soldier, our soldier made it home for a two-week leave.

Like so many military spouses, I gave birth to one of our children–our first child–during my husband’s deployment to Iraq. To fulfill his duty, he missed the pregnancy and the birth and later the first smile and the first giggle. We exchanged photographs and video chatted and recorded his rich baritone singing lullabies but you just never get those moments and milestones back. One of the things I’ve learned, though, is that there is never a perfect time. There is only now.

So we fill our hearts with every moment we get, like the first time a father holds his newborn child in his arms and her tiny eyes flutter open. Your spirit can survive a long time on a memory like that, especially when you have it recorded in all its unsnapped onesie, exposed diaper and umbilical stump, cluttered background glory. I dare any photography studio to top that!

What do you give Dad when he can’t spend time with his family? I think deployed dads want a connection with their children most of all.

Photo Gifts: You could make a cute “Daddy” photo montage where the kids each hold up a letter to spell “Daddy.” You can also print a photo on just about anything these days–so if Dad likes coffee, get him a mug with his kids’ smiling mugs on it!

Kids’ Artwork & Interviews: Older children can draw a picture of Daddy. Ask the kids to answer questions about their dad and write the answers on the back of the artwork: What does Daddy do at work? What does your Daddy enjoy? What is Daddy very good at? What do you like doing with Daddy? At least a few of the answers will make him laugh out loud.

Baked Goods: When my husband was deployed, he mostly wanted homemade goodies. We vacuum sealed them and dessert arrived in the desert fresh and yummy. Older kids can help with the baking.

Entertainment: Every deployment is different but most seem to consist of lots of dangerous work broken up by long periods of waiting. Gadgets, games, books, and movies or television series that help Dad pass the time are always a big hit. Bonus points if your older kids can play, read, or watch, too, and compare notes with Dad.

Our service members sacrifice so much–including births, birthdays, milestones, anniversaries, graduations, recitals, school plays, championship games, and, of course, Father’s Days.

That’s why it is so exciting that Dove Men + Care is partnering with Operation Homefront give 300 servicemembers (dads and moms) what they really want this Father’s Day: quality time with their families. Just look at this video (grab the tissues) to see what they are doing to make this a special Father’s Day.

I KNOW you want to help after watching that, right? Well you can! In addition to purchasing any Dove Men+Care products (perfect for any care package to Dad), you can also visit the Dove Mission: Care page and leave a message for the troops!

GIVEAWAY: THERE’S MORE! You can also enter to win a Dove Men+Care prize-pack giveaway (ARV $20).  To enter, just leave a message for the troops and then comment on this post to let me know what encouraging words you shared! Winner chosen at random. Giveaway ends June 19, 2013 at 11:59pm EST. Shipping to US + APO, only.

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94 comments

  1. Rachel S says:

    Happy Father’s Day.
    Thanks for all you do!

  2. rachel says:

    I said “We know it takes great sacrifice to do what you are doing — thank you!”

  3. Masooma F says:

    Left a “happy father’s day to all military dads” message!

  4. Dawn Monroe says:

    Thank You for all you do, come home soon.

  5. Happy Father’s Day to all the guys serving their country that wish they could be home with their kids. People can make contributions to the armed forces via Any Soldier dot-com also.

  6. kelly mcgrew says:

    i wished the military men a happy fathers day and also military wives because they take the daddy role sometimes!!

  7. Denise Konkel says:

    A huge THANK YOU! They deserve it! denisekonkel@gmail.com

  8. [...] on: 06/19/2013 Open to: Other Location, United States Enter this Giveaway at Army Wives’ Lives Share this: Pin [...]

  9. Dominique says:

    I left this message – Happy Father’s Day! Thank you for everything! Thanks!

  10. Abby Kraynick says:

    Happy Fathers Day , God Bless you all! Come home safe ♥

  11. Jessica Peeling says:

    I said Happy Father’s Day, hope you get to go home soon jessicapeeling@yahoo.com

  12. Dorrie Turer says:

    I shared

    Dorrie Turner · Works at Life
    Thank you for your service and sacrifice. Be safe, stay strong, you are loved!

  13. Betsy says:

    Thank you for all you do and sacrifice!!

  14. Lisa M says:

    YOu make me proud to be an American. We are all so thankful for you service to this wonderful country!

    THANK YOU!

  15. steve weber says:

    I just want to thank all those men and women who served and who are currently serving.. God bless you.

  16. Robin Wilson says:

    Thank you so much to your hubby for his service and congrats on your beautiful family!

    I left a message: Thank all of you so very much for your service. You are so very much missed, loved and appreciated! Happy Father’s Day to all the dads.

  17. Amy Honious says:

    thanks to all of the troops who do such a great job! we have always supported our country’s military with numerous relatives and friends who have served. we also proudly fly our flag daily and are so happy to enjoy the freedoms that our servicemen provide for us! we salute you!

  18. Katherine H says:

    Happy Father’s Day to all the dads. FB name Katherine Ellis Hahn

  19. I Said:
    THANK YOU. Thank you for being there to protect my freedoms and rights. I know that doing that for me, means you sacrifice things that many take for granted. You miss milestones, special days, celebrations… the special moments that fill our lives. You family sacrifices too, getting through each day without you. To them and to you I say again with my deepest gratitude and appreciation, THANK YOU

  20. Shelley Schmidt says:

    Thank you for all you do and for serving our country. Happy Father’s Day.

  21. Heidi M says:

    I left a comment for the troups

  22. fiorella papini says:

    left a message for all of our troops , thanks for doing this for them

  23. Lauren Knott says:

    Thank you for your service! We thank you for our freedom.

  24. Elizabeth Owens says:

    This is so touching to me. I left the troops a message and said “Thank you for everything you do for me and my country. I cannot imagine how hard it is to leave your family behind, so thank you”.

    Thank you.

    elizzzzzabeth at yahoo dot com

  25. Irene Cypher says:

    I said Thank you so much for all that you do for us. I am so grateful. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can’t say it enough.

  26. sandra davis says:

    Thank you for serving this country, proudly. Happy Fathers Day to all of you wonderful fathers. Your children are so proud of you.

  27. Pamela Halligan says:

    I commented: “Happy Father’s Day! Thank you for all of your sacrifices that you have made and continue to make. You are true heroes.”

  28. Katherine Donovan says:

    I commented “From the bottom of my heart, I thank each and every service men & women. The sacrifice that you given to us is the most unselfish thing you can do for our country. Thank you, thank you.”

  29. Deb C says:

    I said “what would we do without you” and wished them a Happy Father’s Day.
    Deb Christie

  30. Gosh, I feel kind of silly even entering this contest now after I watched the video! I cried and cried… What a touching thing for Dove to do, and I wish more large companies would contribute like that and share it to inspire others to do it on a smaller scale.

    Anyways, this would make a great gift for my fiance, so here’s what I wrote:

    Happy Father’s Day to all you guys out there making sacrifices for us. I am so ever grateful that you could do that for me and my family, and I hope you can return to all your families as soon as possible safely and with blessings.

  31. Tara says:

    Thank you for all you do to keep this country safe!

  32. Michelle S. says:

    I said thank you for your service

  33. renee says:

    I said:
    Happy Father’s Day, military dads! Your family loves you, no matter where you are :)

  34. I posted: “I’m so appreciative of all you do…and sorry you miss so much time with your families. But know that you are loved, missed, and honored in so many ways! Thank you!”

  35. Jessica Snow says:

    Happy Father’s Day! Thank you for everything you do!

  36. Susan Smith says:

    Happy Father’s Day! Thank for your service to our country.

  37. soha molina says:

    I said “Thank you for all you do for us”.

  38. liz l says:

    Thank you for doing what you do.

  39. Christian Alejandro says:

    Thanks for every moment you spend away from your loved ones to keep us safe!

  40. Sierra says:

    It’s because of men like you that my family can stay safe! We appreciate you so much.

  41. Elizabeth Gentry says:

    I said “Stay safe and come home”

  42. Charlotte says:

    I commented on dovemencare.com
    “Thank you for all that you do for our country! Your so courageous for putting your life on the line everyday. There’s not enough, “Thank You’s” in the world that could ever re-pay you for what you’ve done. Your wives, and kids are just as amazing! YOU are my hero!”

    My brother retired from the Army as a Sgt. a few years back. I’ve only seen my brother about 10 times in my 28 years. I just want to say a HUGE thank you to your husband, & all the other service men/women serving our country! The gratitude that I have for you, still doesn’t even come close to what you go through for our country. My sister in law would always write letters to my mom with such sad emotion on what she was going through, or days when she finally received letters from my brother how that was such a relief. Especially when my brother fought in Desert Storm & other wars. I remember our school had something awesome going on for families that had family in the Desert Storm. We got to chat with them live through like a video conference. Not sure what it was but it was AMAZING! That’s why I think it’s wonderful what Dove is doing for these amazing soldiers! When I read your story, and watched the video at dovemencare I cried. It always hits a soft spot in me because you are truly a blessing to each and everyone of us. It breaks my heart knowing the stuff that daddy and mommy’s miss out on, while overseas. I loved what you wrote above, “One of the things I’ve learned, though, is that there is never a perfect time. There is only now”. Thank you for protecting my family, friends, our nation. God Bless you!

    Spiderman nor Batman is my hero, but soldiers who put their life on the line everyday are my “hero”.

  43. Melissa says:

    Thank you for your service. God Bless and thank you for my freedom!

  44. Jennifer B. says:

    I commented, “Thank-you for ensuring that me and my family have a safe and happy world to live in. You are an inspiration to all families.”

  45. emily rehber says:

    i wrote an encouraging note to them!!

  46. Deb S says:

    I left a message thanking them for service to our country

  47. Fiona N says:

    Thank You So Much for keeping us safe. We truly appreciate for everything You do for us. God bless You :-)

  48. debra daigle says:

    Thank you for all you do and the sacrifices you and your families make.

  49. Sandra Travis says:

    Thank you for your service and sacrifice for our freedoms! Thank you not only to the men and women serving, but the families that are also making the sacrifices!

  50. Brittney House says:

    When you feel like your alone, just remember there are millions of people who look up to you as a hero!

  51. Deb C says:

    Thank you so much for all you are doing to keep our country safe. God Bless and stay safe.

  52. Matt says:

    I left a message: Thank you so very much to all those dads out there serving our country in the many branches of the military! Thank you for protecting our nation!

    mattschmunk at gmail dot com

  53. Adrianne B says:

    THanks for your service, dedication, and bravery.

  54. Patrice O'Neil says:

    Thank you so much for service and your sacrifice for our country.

  55. OH I LOVE THIS!!!

    To our troops: Thank you SO MUCH for everything you (and your families) sacrifice so that we can be free. This really is the land of the free BECAUSE of the brave!

  56. cassandra says:

    Thank you for your courage and strength, it is not easy to do what you men and women do on a daily basis. The sacrifice you make and dedication you have astounds me. May you be blessed along with your family for your service to our country

  57. Vanessa says:

    Thank you for all you do!!

  58. amy williams says:

    Thank you for all that you do for us and a big thanks to your families that are waiting back home.

    this is the comment I left

  59. Starr Greenwell says:

    I left a comment for our troops, thank You for doing this.

  60. Brandy Fisk says:

    Thank you all for what you do for our freedom

  61. Crystal Merrill says:

    This is what I posted there-
    Thank you to all of the families that have loved ones serving in the military. Thank you for the sacrifices that you make for our freedoms.
    I would like to add that I have the utmost admiration for military wives. I have no idea how you do it, but thank you.

  62. Audrey Griffis says:

    wow nice page I love what they are doing- left a message of support under Audrey Griffis

  63. Debbie bolen says:

    Thanks you so much for all you have done. Brought tears to my eyes. They also serve who only stand and wait. God bless you.

  64. TJ Sims says:

    I commented! TJ Sims. Babytee8907(at)yahoo(dot)com

  65. MaryAnn says:

    Thank you so much for everything that you do for us.

  66. Donna Kellogg says:

    I commented
    Thank you for all you and your family sacrifice for me :)

  67. Stephanie Grant says:

    Freedom don’t come free and you guys and gals will never know how much your sacrafices to keep me and my family free mean to us! Thank You

  68. brandi hawn says:

    i left a message about my brother being in the army and how proud i am of him and everyone that sacrifices for our freedom :)

    brandi hawn dontdwell311@yahoo.com

  69. Amy Honious says:

    thanks for such a lovely giveaway and for the encouraging messages!
    “we are so proud of all of you in our armed forces! without your courage and willingness, our great nation would surely fall! we fly our flag everyday and know what it stands for :) thank you so very much and know that you are greatly appreciated!”

  70. DANIELLE WILLIAMS says:

    Thank you SO much for all of your service and sacrifice!

    Danielle Williams

  71. evans s says:

    thanks for all you do for us alliana88m

  72. Robyn R says:

    I wrote: Thank you for your service. You are appreciated for all you do to keep freedom for our country. God bless you and God bless America!

    Thank you for the giveaway.

  73. Kayla says:

    I told them to stay safe!

  74. Shirley Carr says:

    THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO FOR ME AND MY FAMILY.

  75. Cathy Truman says:

    Thank you for all your service. God Bless you and your families.

  76. Vikki Billings says:

    Thank you for your service, I am so appreciative of the sacrifices you make every day for our freedom! Thank you

  77. Thanks for everything that you do to keep our country safe each and every day.

  78. susan smoaks says:

    Thank you for being there for our country when we need you the most.

  79. Heather Bridson says:

    Thank you for all you do, we wouldn’t be free without your sacrifice Thank you!!!

  80. Tyneisha Fondren says:

    Thanks for your service :)

  81. Harriett Daniel says:

    I commented as Harriett Talford Daniel

  82. Georgia Beckman says:

    These are the words of encouragement & thanks I left:
    Thank you for sacrificing precious time with YOUR families so that we can enjoy ours. Thank you for taking the front lines, while we relax in the back lawn around a BBQ with no fear of terror on our soil. Thank you for your willingness to sacrifice your own lives for those of strangers you’ve never met, but care enough to give your very best, your all. God bless you with health & prosperity.

  83. Debra Pauley says:

    To our troops: Thank you SO MUCH for everything you (and your families) sacrifice so that we can be free. This really is the land of the free BECAUSE of the brave! debbie

  84. Karri Steed says:

    I let them know that if it was up to me, they WOULD be home with their families.

  85. kristy ballser says:

    I thanked them for all they give for our country

  86. Abby Kraynick says:

    God Bless you ALL, Come Home Safe ♥

  87. Mara Yager says:

    Thank you for serving and preserving our freedoms!

  88. Sand says:

    Thank you for your service.

  89. Kristie D. says:

    I shared: “I am in awe of the strength and bravery of military dads. They put their lives on the line and some don’t come home at all. I know a soldier who died before he ever saw his 3-month-old daughter. Tragic! I appreciate the unimaginable sacrifices – as much as I am able anyway. Thank you for your service!”

    kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

  90. Laurie Emerson says:

    My comment was to thank them for their sacrifices and to let them know that they are never forgotten and always appreciated.

  91. Stacy W says:

    Thank you to all the dads and their families for giving so much!

  92. Sam Stamp says:

    Thank you so very much for serving our country! I truly appreciate all of your hard work and sacrifices that you make in order to keep us safe & free!
    samimcsamsam(at)gmail(dot)com

  93. jennie sanderson says:

    Thank you troops for loving our country and keeping us safe and sacrificing your time, and your life for us! jenpsht at gmail dot com

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