I have been serving in the U.S. Navy for over 20 years. In those 20 years I have been on several deployments, sometimes for six months or more. I always buy gifts for my wife in the many places I have visited. The problem has been mailing them back home in a timely manner. You just never know how long it will actually take for your cards, letters and packages to arrive. Sometimes she would not receive any mail from me for weeks, then several items would arrive all at once for her to open.
For the current deployment that I am on, I wanted to do something really special. I wanted to make sure she had a gift to open for every day of the six months that I will be gone. I spent several months planning and researching all the Holiday calendars I could find, looking for “special” days throughout the time that I would be gone. Things like National Hugging Day, National Popcorn Day, the Eiffel Tower anniversary, International Jazz Day, National Lingerie Week, and scores of others, in addition to the regular holidays and our own special days.
Then I started buying gifts… lots of gifts. One for every day that I would be gone. Some are simple, like a bag of microwave popcorn or Hershey’s Hugs or other candy. Some more elaborate, like jewelry and lingerie and fresh flowers (by the way, I found out during this that you CAN arrange flower delivery even nine months in advance). I tried to find gifts that pertained to particular days or that I knew would be meaningful or useful for the time they would be received.
I also purchased lots and lots of small and medium sized gift bags, and six very large gift bags. In the three to four months before my deployment, I put each of the nearly 180 gifts into its own gift bag along with a romantic or sexy “fortune” card. On the outside of each bag, I attached a personal note that included a number and a brief message relating to the gift or the day. The number indicated the day of the month it was to be opened. I kept meticulous track of what was in each bag and what date it was for. When all the individual gifts were bagged, I placed all of the January gifts in one of the large bags, put a gift tag marked “January” on it, and so forth for all the other months.
I then hid the six large gift bags throughout our house and garage in places I knew my wife would never look. The gift for the last day of each month also contains a poem that gives away the location of the next month’s gifts.
On the first day of my deployment, when Vicky drove me to my ship to say goodbye and watch the ship leave, I gave her a small gift bag. The note attached read simply “To help dry your tears”. Inside was a small pack of tissues, a fortune card that read “I want to tease you”, and a letter. The letter explained that there was a large bag waiting on our bed for her when she returned home. It went on to say that there was a new gift for her to open every day, something chosen specifically for that day. The next morning she opened an envelope that contained nothing but a picture of a flower bouquet. She told me later that she was a little confused at first, until that same bouquet of flowers (carnations for January) was delivered to the front door a few hours later.
Since then, it has been one special day after another. I can’t wait until she gets to our Anniversary, she’s going to really love that one!
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