Before The Dad left for his second deployment, this time to Afghanistan, we bought a book for Bubba to read that would try and explain to him what was going to happen.
The book that we got is called "A Paper Hug" by Stephanie Skolmoski, this is one of the best deployment books for kids that I have read. Bubba asks to have this book read almost nightly, his favorite part of the book is when the little boy makes his daddy a paper hug as a surprise. Bubba decided that we needed to make The Dad a paper hug and send it to him in Afghanistan.
First, all you need is construction paper, scissors, glue, string, and a pencil. You trace the hands of your kid, and cut them out. Then you take the string and measure from fingertip to fingertip and cut that length. After you do that put glue on the back of one hand and place the string on the glue then place the other hand print on top. Tada! You have a paper hand.
The book had a really cute poem that the little boy put on his hand prints but Bubba decided that he wanted to put , "Here's a hug. Just for you to snuggle. I love you Daddy". I think that The Dad will get a kick out of the paper hug that Bubba made him. I also think that it will really make Bubba happy when The Dad comes home and still has his little paper hug.
I think that if I can find small creative things for Bubba (and eventually Bobbles) to do then the year that The Dad is gone will not seem so long. I just want to make sure that Bubba feels like he is still connected to The Dad even though he doesn't get to see him everyday.