Celebrating Valentine's Day During Deployment

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Valentine's Day During Deployment
Celebrate Valentine's Day in these fun ways, even if your spouse is deployed this year. (Stock Photo)

Like a lot of military spouses, I can probably count on one hand the number of Valentine's Days that my husband has been home. If he’s not deployed, he’s TDY or in the field. I try not to let it get me down and remind myself of the fact that it’s a Hallmark holiday. But, my heart can’t help but ache a little when I see cute pictures of friends celebrating a night out or dinner with their spouse.

My favorite memories of Valentine’s Day as a kid involve making my valentine's box, picking out the fun valentine cards I would give to my friends, hoping I would get a few pieces of candy and the Valentine’s Day party at school. I don’t remember this being a holiday that was celebrated between only my mom and dad.

So, this year I’ve decided I’m directing the focus of this holiday on my kids. I want to help create the fond memories that I have of this day and ensure a fun day for all of us.

In the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, I will let my kids choose what valentines they want to create for their friends. Fortunately, there are valentines for most themes already created on Pinterest and creating your own isn’t as difficult as it sounds. We’ve made superhero and Minecraft valentines in past years. These can be as easy or difficult as you like depending on the template you choose.

We are also going to create a few fun things to send to my husband and the grandparents. A few of the favorites my kids have chosen so far are personalized cards, and a "things I love" flip book.

On Valentine’s Day, the first thing I’m doing is choosing a few meals and snacks to make the day fun. For breakfast we will start the day with either heart-shaped pancakes or french toast made using a cookie cutter and heart-shaped fruit. The kids can even help me cut the fruit the night before. For their lunches I will use the same cookie cutter to cut their sandwiches and make sure I include a cute note letting them know how much I love them. For dinner we always have a fun heart-shaped pizza with heart-shaped rice crispy treats for dessert. The addition of sparkling apple cider to drink always makes my kids feel like it's truly a special occasion.

For fun I will let them choose a craft. In the past, their favorites have been a heart-shaped Ninja Turtle, a valentine heart wreath for their bedroom doors, and heart sun catchers when they were younger. This year I’m excited to add in a valentine word search and scavenger hunt with prizes since they are finally old enough.

At the end of the day, kids will have a fun Valentine’s Day no matter what you plan. But for me, this is a fun way to turn a holiday that reminds me of the absence of my spouse into something fun we can look forward to and have fun doing, together.

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