“So, Daddy’s NOT going to be home for my birthday?”
I don’t think there’s a more heartbreaking moment than having to talk your child through understanding what a year without Daddy means. Missed birthdays. Skyped holidays. Uploaded Choir performances. One less hug goodnight.
As Rebekah Sanderlin puts it in her aptly named column Must-Have-Parent, in every military family with children one parent inevitably becomes the must-have parent. The must-have parent is that glue that keeps the family moving forward together despite the unpredictable nature of military life. In our case, the little loop we’ve been thrown is a slightly-unexpected-but-somewhat-expected short tour that’s split our military family between MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida and Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
In true military style my hubby headed out on his year-long tour on the very first day of summer vacation with both girls’ birthdays on the horizon. With two summer babies, we don’t really do the big friend birthday; we prefer a fun family day trip to an amusement park or water park. So here I am, the must-have parent desperately trying to keep family celebrations and traditions on track despite an obvious albeit temporary hole in our family unit, trying to convince myself that the show must go on, Daddy or no-Daddy.
Thankfully, I got a much needed prod to get out and celebrate life to keep our family’s birthday tradition alive and well from the amazing team at USAA. In recognition of Life Insurance Awareness month, USAA provided me with a day trip on them to get out and celebrate life, share it with all of you, and give you a chance to celebrate life, too! You’ll have a chance to win a $300 gift card courtesy of USAA at the bottom of this post.
Keeping Your Military Family’s Traditions Going When Daddy (or Mommy) is Away from Home
With my eldest daughter approaching “The Big 8” in August and with her birthday falling on the first day of school, I thought that we needed a family day out that both rocked her birthday and helped us say goodbye to summer with a bang, so we packed up the family and headed to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure for the day!
My parent-to-child ratio was definitely off; I was outnumbered two-to-one. I called in for back up and had my parents and my grandfather come down from North Carolina to celebrate with us.
Keeping my girls connected with their grandparents and their extended family makes it a little easier to deal with Daddy’s absence.
Rather than cake and ice cream with all the trappings, we sampled our way through the park indulging in sweet treats like Butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I even let the birthday girl have one all to herself. (Confession: I had two. I am not ashamed.)
With Daddy away, having extra hands on deck made it easier for us to make sure that each of my girls could enjoy age-appropriate rides.
And it gets lonely for me, too! I miss my husband but having Mom and Dad around kept my mind off of missing him and wishing he was here and kept me engaged in enjoying the birthday celebration.
Random Travel Tip: Did you know that Universal Studios offers special discounted tickets just for military families? It’s true! Visit your installation’s local ITT Office or if you’re in the Orlando, Florida area, stop by Shades of Green for more info.
Commit to Always Being Able to Celebrate Life With Life Insurance
As much as we don’t like to think about the reasons we might, God forbid, need life insurance, we can all agree that preserving family traditions and celebrations are something we all want for our families, even in our absence.
I know that was pretty heavy statement, but life insurance is just one of those things we don’t ever want to think about. I get it. I promise you, however, that the last place you want think about having enough life insurance is in the middle of crisis. Heck, it happened to us.
I remember thinking to myself, “He’s only 30. This can’t be. This isn’t happening to us. Not now.” As I sat in our car behind the ambulance barely catching glimpses of my husband through the rear windows, I found myself in a state of total denial that I might be losing my partner in life.
The only thing that gave me any security at all was knowing that we were prepared for this kind of crisis. It gave me the freedom to be present with him and not have to worry about paperwork or how on Earth we were going to financial deal with the fallout if the worst were to happen. Thank goodness it was a false alarm, but what if it hadn’t been an we weren’t prepared? I wouldn’t want to have to deal with the loss coupled with the stress of getting the logistics of our life, our livelihood, in order at the same time.
One of the biggest barriers to taking action on getting yourself and your spouse adequately insured is trying to figure out exactly how much life insurance you need. USAA makes that pretty easy with their life insurance coverage calculators. And don’t forget, stay-at-home spouses, whether you you work for pay or not, need life insurance, too!
Enter to Win a $300 Giftcard to Celebrate Life with Your Military Family!
We are so excited to offer you a chance to win a $300 VISA gift card courtesy of USAA in celebration of Life Insurance Awareness month! Enter below!