I'm often asked what my suggestions are for goodie boxes for deployed military folks. Mail is for those deployed, as you may know, the invisible arm of civilization and of comfort from the western world. While there is video chat, and phone calls, mail is tactile and almost more tangible.
How important it is!
And so this is why, when my soldier is deployed, I have boxes stacked in my home ready to fill, stationary always at an arms reach, and stamps coming out of my ears.
Where the military member is will determine what they will need or want. Many areas are established, where there is an "exchange" where they can purchase toiletries and goodies. Other places, remote and isolated, won't provide much of those little comforts. The best way is to ask them what is available to them, and send what you think will give them the best memories of home. For Hubby, it was Werther's Candies and Kona Coffee. And gummy bears.
But nothing beats the love of a handwritten letter.
(made by my children for my brother, who is deployed)
Yesterday, an acqaintance asked me how we were able to survive deployments. I answered my usual, "we don't have much of a choice," and my cynical, "girl, I don't know how we did it either." I did, however, tell her that I am sure of one thing - these deployments will either bring the family closer together or can push them farther apart.
I also know for sure that the handwritten note was a powerful tool in our arsenal of staying close, Hubby and I. Aside from the emails we exchanged, I received handwritten notes from him, intimate and spontaneous. I knew he wrote them at the end of the day, when he is most vulnerable. I sent my own letters, almost painfully written, each word unable to be deleted by a backspace key. So much more honest, with greater intention. When the kids sent him cards and letters, though only a few sentences, while some garble and some just pictures, I know he cherished them and hung them on whatever surface he could.
The handwritten note, as simple as it is, is sometimes all it takes. A mention of your day, a description of your surroundings, your opinion on an issue - it gives them the taste of home that they crave.
It's really that easy.