Deployment can be one of the toughest times for a military family. Spouses or parents and children may be separated from one another for months at a time. Sometimes, it is not even possible for them to speak with one another. Important and even life-altering events can occur while family member is deployed and leave that person feeling disconnected from the others. As a result, it can be important for military families to take particular care to set up rituals and other ways of keeping everyone included in family life.
One couple, Destiny and Eric, were separated for 67 days while Eric was deployed with the Navy. On his return, Destiny had a stack of gift-wrapped boxes waiting for him.
In the first one, she placed a pair of shoes with a note saying, “You walked into my life and made me realize why it never worked out with anyone else.” Underneath that was a big box. “I can shake this one, can’t I?” asked Eric. Destiny gave him permission, and he commented, “There’s another box inside.” She asked him to guess what was in it, and his guess was clothes. He then shook it again and said he had no idea what it was. It was a tackle box. He was delighted.
Underneath that was a final box wrapped in gold paper. She told him to just open it. “Don’t turn it upside down!” she cried, and that led him to speculate it might be a box of chickens. When he finally opened it, a look of joy and disbelief crossed his face. “I’m pregnant!” Destiny confirmed.
“It was so hard not to tell you!” she said as he hugged her. Then they returned to look through the contents of the box together. There was her pregnancy test, and paperwork from her doctor’s visit. There was also a T-shirt that said, “World’s Greatest Dad.”
They both agreed that this news about their growing family was the best gift of all.