Battle Buddies

Do you know we’re technically still at war?  Like right now.  Like for quite a long time.  And despite your feelings about it, whatever your politics may be, while it may not change your everyday life, it truly affects military families every day.

My husband’s in the Army, and has been deployed three times in Myla’s 7 years of life.  The first deployment, she wasn’t quite two years old, and communication to Afghanistan was limited to occasional emails.

There are tons of posts online, hundreds of Pinterest Pins, (I even wrote a post) all full of  things to do to keep your deployed spouse in your kid’s memory.  We recorded videos of him reading stories to her.  We made a paper chain for every day he was gone (we only made it to 100 days, because: LIFE.  WHoops).  I made a laminated book of photos for her to chew on, we had a Daddy Doll, and we tried phone calls from time to time.  But it’s difficult with kids…if it’s not right in front of them right here, right now, they don’t always understand.  It was hard when he came back, as she had once been so cuddly with him, and was suddenly treating him as if he was a stranger.

And then a couple of years ago, my dentist told me her husband had a doll that he took with him when he had to leave, took photos of himself with the doll during the deployment, and sent them to his daughter.  I thought that was such a wonderful idea!  It reminded me of the Flat Stanley project my niece did when she was younger.  And wouldn’t it be fun to have one of MYLA?

My husband was on board, and took photos on every deployment after that–when she was 4, 5,  and 6 and had to be gone, I’d send him a Flat Myla , and he took tons of photos with her.  When he flew a helicopter, when he visited new cities, when he had coffee, or lunch in the chow hall….you name it.

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She was double laminated, and he carried her everywhere he went in his cargo pocket, and she even traveled through the laundry a couple of times on accident, and I’d have to send him a new one.

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And since it’s really difficult to find things like this for army kids, my army friends asked for some…

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The kids had one of their dad to carry around and take to their games and events, and dad had one for his travels.

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It’s so awesome to be able to be part of a family’s story…

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And I find that things like this are hard to find for military families.  Or for that matter, any family that has a traveling parent, really.

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In the Army, “battle buddies” are your friends that you stick with, wherever you go.  So I’ve decided to sell custom Battle Buddies in my etsy shop, because I always find that there isn’t much out there for military kids, especially to help them cope with deployments at different ages.  I found that when her Daddy was gone this last time, Myla LOVED seeing new photos of where he’d take her, and laughed when he’d do things like stick her flat face in a slice of pizza for a laugh, or pretend to feed her a piece of pie.  My friend says her son used to carry around his Flat Daddy all the time when he first deployed.

It’s hard to find something that works for your family.  So if you know anyone who’s facing a deployment, or has a family member that travels a lot, and you think this might be something that helps, please contact me on Etsy for a custom!  I’d be happy to help them with a Battle Buddy, and be a part of their family story…

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8 responses

  1. I really love this idea! It gives a common bond and a feeling of a connection through out the separation! I would like to suggest to anyone who does this to occasionally scoot in with the the Battle Buddy or child, so that after the years pass by they will also have a record of what they looked like also. It would even add a deeper value to the photos!

  2. What a fabulous idea. Props to you for thinking of something that really works. Thr drawings are gorgeous and I can only imagine how much they mean to these families.

  3. That is such a cool idea.

  4. This is just the nicest thing ever. How well travelled Flat Myla is! Well done you.

  5. I love this, Mica; well, I love everything you two do.

    And as just a wee bit of fun synchronicity: I have those very Polish cups! A going-away gift from VT. I’m next door to you now, in NM.

    Happy Trails!

    1. Oh wonderful! Yes, my mother got the Polish pottery when we lived in Germany–she and some friends would take a drive to Poland and FILL the car full of pottery. So all my dishes are polish pottery, and I LOVE it! This past deployment, my husband was able to go to a pottery factory in POLAND! And he picked me up a beautiful coffee mug that has become my new favorite!

  6. I just love this! What a wonderful gesture to make these for families that are apart. Now that is using your art to warm someone’s heart! 🙂

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