It's no secret to anyone here that during a deployment, your list of "have to" jobs each day far exceeds what you can do such that the "should do" and "want to" items could carry over until your spouse actually returns home.
Even though deployment can feel like it's dragging its feet, I sometimes felt overwhelmed by all the moments passing me by and how I could capture those for my deployed spouse. What could I do to make preserving those moments easier on me?
Perhaps keeping memories isn't as time-consuming as you think and it may open the doors to communication we so desperately desire...
Make no mistake, I LOVE to scrapbook. In the rosy haze of pre-deployment when I thought of ALL the spare time I'd have on my hands with Hubs gone, I even went so far as to have him put together the beautiful table he'd purchased for my scrapping so I could fill my idle hours with tons of scrapbook pages. Aside from the 6 x 6 pages I created to send to him, I didn't scrapbook once. But, I did my best to keep track of things so that should I ever have a few minutes to sit down, I might actually crank out some great pages that will make use of all the pictures I took while Hubs was deployed.
Easy Ways to Keep Track of Time
Click! Take a Pic!: I shot more still photos and video while Hubs was away than a person has a right to shoot. And, usually, if it were video-worthy, I'd take some snapshots. This helps immensely now when I'm looking over photos from that time because I have live video to refer to as a memory refresher. I also used the digital still shots to create slideshow movies (I'm no computer guru but the Windows Movie Maker on my computer was fool-proof) to burn to CD and send to Hubs. These are great little time capsules to use in making meaningful layouts later.
Talk to me, Sweetie: We also enjoyed exchanging mini-cassette taped letters. The girls were able to send Daddy hugs and kisses without needing to be old enough to hold a pencil. Daddy's voice could send them love without the threat of being cut off mid-sentence. With all the digital technology taking over, a pair of mini-cassette recorders and some tiny tapes won't break the bank, especially if you look for second hand ones.
On the record: For 88-cents, I purchased a small, spiral-bound notebook that I carried in my bag. I had others sprinkled throughout the house. If the girls said something funny or hit a milestone, I jotted it down in the book. Trip to the pediatrician with weighing and measuring? It went in the book. Hear a song on the radio that I could turn into a love letter or scrapbook page for Hubs' album? Into the book!!! Things I wanted to remember to tell Hubs when he called...in the book. We can't remember everything no matter how hard we try. A little notebook goes a long way!
Tap into your spouse's memories too: So far, my scrapbooks have been family focused and home-centered, but Hubs has buckets of photographs from the past decade-and-a-half that have heavy-duty memories associated with them. Many on SpouseBUZZ have questioned how to open doors or share in these memories our spouses hold and my showing an interest in his photos has been key. Sure, there are the hundred and one shots of non-descript hillsides and military equipment, but in the midst of those are the shots that will open up a world otherwise lost in the recesses of Hubs' mind. It isn't a task we'll complete any time soon, but I do enjoy helping Hubs keep his memories. He's even becoming better about naming his photo files so he can remember why he took the shot!
What is it that you do to keep your family's memories? If you have time-saving, sure-fire techniques, post them in a comment. Do you have questions about how to use photos and video to stay connected? Ask in comments! I'm anxious to be inspired!