It had been a long six months, but homecoming was almost upon me. I had the welcome home banner ready to hang on the porch. I had meals ready, the house clean, my outfit was planned.
But I didn’t have a pillowcase.
And I was freaking out.
Now, a pillowcase might seem like an odd thing to lose my mind over. But I needed one like Han Solo needed the Millennium Falcon. And I couldn’t buy one anywhere in town.
This had been a challenging deployment for many reasons– We moved to that tiny burg just a month before a dark, slate gray rain cloud moved over the region and sat like a soggy pancake over our lives for months (in other words, Fall and Winter in the Pacific Northwest).
I forgot the sun existed. I ached with loneliness without my hubby. I was bored in what felt at the time like a podunk town, having not met many new people and wondering where I would ever meet them.
I also chose to have a bad attitude for half of deployment.
The second half of deployment was much better, but being unable to buy a pillowcase was one more reminder of how small this place really was. Not one single store in our quaint, “main street is the only street” town sold the vital envelope of soft cotton that graces virtually 100% of beds in this country.
Why did I need the pillowcase?
To show my undying love and support of my spouse, of course!
And also because the FRG meeting where we were decorating pillowcases for our loved ones, to be hung up majestically in the hangar for their return, was the next day and I HAD to make one for my man.
Never mind that I procrastinated and now didn’t have time to drive pedal-to-the-medal, 25 minutes to the next town over. There, where the red and white Target circle shines gloriously, a beacon to all who need pillowcases.
Never mind that I failed to plan ahead, but now felt the panic rise in my chest. That my heart raced with the anxiety of not being able to decorate a display of my true love and pride to my returning husband.
Never mind all that. I needed a pillowcase. NOW.
Which leads me to this infographic and oh-so-vital Deployment Homecoming Checklist.
After learning the hard way what NOT to do, I have come up with a list of vital things to help prepare for Homecoming. Because why worry (like me) when you don’t have to???
Why Worry When You Have This
(Amazing) Deployment Homecoming Checklist?
What to bring:
- For Kids: snacks, toys, pad device, drinks, other entertainment
- For You: phone/camera, snacks, drinks
- Umbrella for rain or shade
- Welcome home signs
- Snack/drink for returning service member
What to wear:
- Comfy shoes
- Dressy shoes
- BE YOU!
Where to get info:
- Your FRG
- Ombudsman/Spouse Liason
- Command duty phone (google it)
- Command Facebook page
- Childcare for that day (if late night etc)
- Childcare for couples getaway
- Food prep- frozen meals, crock pot
- House decorations
- Welcome home sign
- Charge phones/cameras
- Pillowcase! (Ha!) Or anything you might need to pick up to make your homecoming plans a success!
My Perfect “Pillowcase”
They say that military spouses have to be resourceful. We have to be creative and flexible.
I don’t always think of myself in those terms, but after I sat with my head in my hands for a few minutes, racking my brain and trying to calm myself with yoga breathing… I had a revelation.
I heaved open hubby’s dusty brown dresser drawer, filled with his oldest, grubbiest undershirts. You know, the ones that used to be white and now display pit stains, holes, and are soft as a baby’s butt (Because who throws away shirts once they’ve become perfect? wonders my husband).
I filled my nostrils with the sweet, manly scent of my hubby that had been closed off for months.
Picking out the whitest, newest shirt that I could, I proudly took it to the FRG painting party the next day. I swung the paintbrush with sweeping motions, decorating as my face beamed.
Finally, I turned that bad boy in to be hung up in the hangar.
My hubby may have been the only one in the squadron with a t-shirt on display that homecoming. In truth, he didn’t even see it until I pointed it out to him after our glorious reunion (proving that it’s so easy to get worked up over things that may not be the highest priority to your sailor!)
But I was happy. I had stopped freaking out. I overcame my panic. I was able to show love to my husband the way I felt I needed and wanted to.
Homecoming was amazing! And yours can be too, with this deployment homecoming checklist.
PS> Don’t procrastinate like I did– Pin the infographic so you can have your own amazing day, and follow my Deployment Pinterest Board!