It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it. – Lou Holtz
We’ve had several big homecomings in the past couple months across the Fleet and around the services. We recently welcomed home the USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) along with Carrier Air Wing Eleven. They returned from an eight and a half month deployment to as far as the Mediterranean Sea. The main body of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade returned from a 9-month deployment to eastern and northern Afghanistan. If your loved one recently returned from a deployment, long underway period or mobilization then you know the importance of having a strong support system.
Ideally your support system includes spouses from your command. These spouses are experiencing the deployment right along side you and they know EXACTLY what you are going through. These friends are sometimes referred to as ‘battle buddies’ and can become part of your family. If you traveled to be with family during the deployment, maybe your ‘battle buddies’ were civilian neighbors, church friends, or immediate family and you had virtual support from your fellow command spouses. Either way, having a support system is crucial to the success of navigating a deployment.
When the deployment is over, you might be wondering how to say Thank You to the people who helped you conquer that long separation. This list includes all kinds of ways to make your ‘battle buddy’ feel special and appreciated.
- Frame a candid photo of the two of you – Pick out a photo of just the two of you and handwrite or print out a friendship quote to place on the photo mat.
- Take them out lunch – Sometimes a fancy lunch is friendlier on the budget than dinner out. Plan a lunch date to a favorite restaurant or someplace they have always wanted to visit.
- Create a care package of a few of their favorite things – With 3-5 items you can really create something special and creative. Include their favorite: candle, magazine, gourmet coffee, tea, baked good or candy. Maybe include a movie on DVD, fragrance, lotion, hand soap or shower gel. Other ideas on what to include, a tech item (new cell phone case), iTunes gift card, music CD, inspirational book or flowers.
- Spa gift certificate – This idea really depends on the friend. Some of my friends would not appreciate a spa certificate, while others would trample someone for a full body massage. The key here is to know your friend. If you are unsure it is okay to ask, “What is your idea of a perfect gift, a massage or a great meal?”
- Handwritten thank you note – Think back to a few of the things you conquered together during the deployment and write a heartfelt thank you letter remembering those times and express just how much their support and friendship meant to you during this time.
- Prepare their favorite meal, with dessert! – Breaking bread with someone is indeed a more intimate way to say thank you, than for instance taking him or her to an action thriller movie.
- Champagne toast – Mix up a celebration cocktail or mock-tail to celebrate the end of this milestone. Write a special toast; keep it heartfelt with a dash of humor!
How have you said Thank You to a ‘battle buddy’ and made them feel great?
Related Story: 5 Ways to Say Thank You and Show Your Love