Memorial Day
photo by: nestegg

I recently went to a going away party for a man who was leaving for Kuwait the following week. His wife, a friend of mine, was pregnant with their first child. Heartbreaking, I know! As a going away present, I decided to give them personalized note cards–two sets–one that said “We miss you,” for Mom and child to write to dad; and another that said, “I miss you,” for Dad to write to Mom and child.

They seemed to love the cards, but after the party was over my friend came up to me and said, “These are great, but mailing notes just takes soooo long to get there.” She planned on using mostly email and Skype to communicate with her husband. Of course, nothing can beat the immediate satisfaction of a video call, but I hoped she’d come to realize that handwritten notes, unlike emails or video chats, would become keepsakes of this important time in their lives.

I couldn’t even imagine the mental stress she would be experiencing, going through a pregnancy and childbirth while he was gone. But I do know that there is something about sitting down and writing a note that makes you feel connected to a person. A love note to a soldier can be about anything. Just the fact that you’re writing a note tells him that you love him.

Tell him how the pregnancy is going, I said. Tell him that you’re having weird cravings or that your feet are getting swollen. Or just write something funny that happened to you at the grocery store, or that the faucet was leaking and you had to fix it all by yourself but you did it! All he wants to hear about is what’s going on in your everyday life. Details are special.

I told my friend that when she has her baby, she can use finger paint to stamp her baby’s footprints or handprints on a note card, so her husband can see how big she is getting every month. He’ll love it, and she’ll be able keep these treasures for the rest of her life. Or she can have the baby scribble on the note and then write a note in the baby’s voice about the new things she’s learning, the foods she loves, and her favorite toys. And of course, she can send photos–of the baby, her toys, herself, the faucet, whatever. He’ll be looking at those notes and photos during his down time and before he goes to bed every night, so give him something to smile about!