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Ideas for My Husband's "Going Away" Party to Afghanistan and Going Away Gift

My husband is in the Army Reserves, and he will be deploying to Afghanistan this winter. I will probably be posting a request for advice on support groups and how to deal with being a "single mom" while my husband is away at war, but that will come later.

Right now, I am thinking about trying to get friends and family together for a surprise send off party so that he will know how proud we are of him and how much we will miss him and be thinking of him until he returns home.

I've never been to a going away party before, and i was wondering if anyone had any ideas i could use to make the event memorable for him and for those of us who won't be seeing him for awhile. It might be kind of difficult since this isn't really a "happy" occasion...

Also, if anyone has any ideas for a gift that I can give to him, I would appreciate that as well. I'm thinking of making 2 identical photo books of him and our daughter and sending one with him and keeping the other here so that he can look through the pictures of him and our DD and so that I can "read" the book to our DD every night while he is gone so she can remember her daddy. But I was wondering about what I could give him from ME that would be special.

thanks for all your help.


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Separation is never easy, particularly with such a young child. I've heard of people making a big print of their soldier's face & putting it on a stick so they can insert him into their adventures, take pics & send them to him so he can see you carry him with you everywhere you go! It helps keep him near for your daughter as well. Invest in webcams so he can talk directly to your daughter and you. They have helped many a family during this type of separation.

As to a gift to send, it's hard to know, my son is deploying this winter, too. I keep thinking of making a quilt but he will be in the desert so that'd be a waste for him. I think you should sleep with whatever you send with him so it has your scent, same with something that is your daughter's. Scent is a powerful thing. I'd guess it probably should be on the smaller side so he can carry it. Maybe make a pretty heart or something so he can have your heart with him. It's corny but hey, this isn't ordinary circumstances!

For your going away party, maybe a simple meal with all his favorite people & foods. Keep it simple and do the meal a week before he goes so you can have him to yourself the last few day, maybe the night before have his parents there, too if they're around.

Thanks for enduring this hardship for our country, I'm a veteran and an Air Force mom. I know this isn't easy or what some people would chose, so I thank you for being strong for all of us. If I can help in any way, drop me a line. I mean it.


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I went to a going away party recently for someone who was leaving for 9 months on a mission trip. She could bring very little with her so they gave her a keychain that somehow stored a bunch of pictures they took of all her friends on it. (you'd have to research that one!) Otherwise they just held it at in their church reception area, had a bunch of food and everyone just visited. Very nice, low key way for her to see everyone before she left. Your husband is a good man...you are lucky to have someone so special!

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Hi my son is in the service. I had a couple of parties for his going away and returning. He was on an aircraft carried so I made pictures from the computer and used those on the flyers for the party. I alo found stickers and used them once on the invitaions.
Also have everyone put in their email addresses and house addresses on a card or paper or in a small phone book. So he has some down time and he can write and catch up.
We made big banners and hung them all around. And just had great fun.
It was of course bittersweet as we knew he was leaving.
Does he have a camera himself? He might appreciate that.
It is so tough to say goodbye. My heart still aches sometimes and I hope you are keeping in touch with army wives and moms or someone to support you through this. If you would like you can send me a note and I;ll send my email privately. I'd be happy to email back and forth. You really need the support.As I write I am finding my own tears coming out. Whatever you end up doing know that there are so many people like you. God bless you and thank your husband for his service.

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Thank you to your family for the sacrifices you are about to make to keep the rest of us safe. While I don't have experience with this situtation, when my husband was travelling when my daughter was young, he videotaped himself reading some of her night time story books. So at night before bed, she could watch him read on TV those stories he would be doing if he were still with us. It helped her to have that little bit of daddy even with him gone. Also he made her a simple book with pictures and words that I could read to her about what he does while she is gone and what we will do when he returns. This isn't a gift from you so much, but just some thoughts on how to keep your daugther connected to your husband.

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I absolutely love the compass gift that someone suggested. It a very cool idea, something he could keep with him all the time. When my husband was in the Army in Germany back in 1981 (he was my boyfriend back then) we didnt have computers. I would write to him every week. To this day he remember receiving those leters and telling me how much he appreciated them. I would just write little stuff that would keep him connected to America and he looked forward to getting them each week. I think with the use of computers we have gotten away from actually writing to someone on paper. It really does make a difference to recieve a piece of mail and makes it more personal. And you can have something afterwards to pass on to your kids, actual letters. We still love opening the box of letters my husband recieved and reading them almost 30 years later :-)
If you have an address for him, hand out little cards to all your guests and tell them to write.

Please thank you husband from me for doing all that he is doing. May God keep you, your litle girl and your husband safe while he is away.

Mom to 3 awesome kids. Ryan 13, Troy 10 and Audrey 4. Wife to a great guy for the last 20 years.

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I gave my husband a compass...and had it engraved "May you never lose your way to my heart"

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I love your idea. I wish I had another idea. But I wanted to ask you to tell your husband THANK YOU from my family and me!

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First of all - God bless your family during this difficult time and thank you all for your husband's service to our country. My ex husband was in the Marine Corps - and my boys and I still say a prayer every night that God look over the men and women who serve our country - and keep them safe.

That said - why not try a digital picture frame. I think that they come in several sizes - and you could pre-load lots of pics for him to look at while he is there. If possible - try to load a few that he doesn't see before leaving - so that when he looks at it overseas - there are some new ones to see. When my ex was in Okinawa - and before kids - I used to have my niece decorate the driveway using chalk - and we would write messages etc...take pics of those and send the pics. He got a kick out of that. You can also think of creative places to write a message and take a pic - on top of a cake; a mirror; etc....I think you get the idea. Try to include some humor - as it is hard enough for him to see the pics that you normally take - and every now and then to have a "funny" one thrown in - takes some of the pain away - and puts a smile on their faces.

Care packages once he is over there - an awesome way to connect! Around the holidays- I sent goofy things...he didn't like the movie "The Wizard of Oz" - but I wrapped it up and sent it - with a note - there's no place like home -but this will bring you close...I put the chocolate "sno-caps" in - saying here's some snow in case you miss it! I've thrown in boxes of blank holiday cards - so he can send them out - or give them to some other troops to send out, etc.. Try to think of fun things that he enjoys - and can share as well.

It's really hard - but remember that each day he is away -is one day closer to him coming home. When you celebrate holidays - try to include him - take pics - again with a sign that says "we miss you" - or your baby throwing kisses to the camera. Videos - again - include him in them - although he is away....

My thoughts and prayers are with your family - and hope that he is home soon -


1 mom found this helpful

When my husband left for Iraq, I had a journal book at the party so that the people who attended could write a message to him. Most also included their address, which he appreciated and he tried to write to each one at least once. My husband always wanted pictures because they meant the most to him and they didn't take up much space.

The book is a great idea. We recorded my husband reading a book and I would play that for our son. That way he could hear Daddy's voice, too. Just always remind your daughter how much her Daddy loves her.

Good luck to you and THANK YOU to your husband and YOU for your service to our country.

1 mom found this helpful

My son and son in law are both Marines. My son is due to deploy next spring and my son in law is on his third deployment. My grandsons aged 6 and 4 got Daddy dolls from hugahero.com when he was deployed the first time. You send a full length photo of the dad (usually in uniform) and they make a pillow-like doll. There is room on the back for any text you would like to add and they now have voice recorders available. It is wonderful because the kids can carry them around and sleep with them comfortably. There are 2 sizes (the small one would probably be better for a younger child like yours-easier to carry) they are only $21.95 and $27.95 respectively. You could most likely even have a doll of your daughter made for your husband with her voice recorded for him.
As for the going away party, it is a good idea. However you may want to think about the suprise aspect. People who are soon to deploy are often on an emotional roller coaster and are having a hard time not "loosing composure" most of the time. A true suprise of everyone coming to say goodbye could be very overwhelming for him. Knowing ahead of time and mentally preparing, might make it easier for him to keep his composure in front of everyone. Just a thought.
As many others have done, I want to thank you for your sacrifices and let you know there are others out here for you if you need us. God bless!

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First off, thank you to you and your family and I wish you strength and peace.

When I am away from my kids, I always sneak a bit of their clothing with me. I read an article about an organization that sends small pillows to our soldiers overseas, hand-made with soft, colorful fabrics. And the soldiers said it really made their day to receive such a gift from the folks back home.

So, perhaps for your husband, could you make a small pillow using swatches of fabric from your daughter's clothes, like a patterned onesie he might recognize, a soft t-shirt or some jammies she'll soon outgrown. That could be one side of the pillow. Then, on the other, swatches of something you've worn that he'd recognize or even a section from a soft bedsheet, something he'd recognize as specially connected to you? I don't want you to have to chop up your wardrobe, of course! But, perhaps you can find a few items that are meaningful and will bring him home in his imagination for a few moments each day.

If you can't sew (like me) I think a seamstress from a local dry cleaner can usually help out if you bring her the pieces and explain what you need. Michaels has batting to stuff pillows.

Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful

Do you watch the show Army Wives on Lifetime? I was just watching the other night and they bought a mini camcorder for the person deploying and the person staying home with the kids so they could do short daily videos and email them to each other. What about a journal? It might be cheesy (and something you'd give him in private) but it would be a good way to destress and also possibly write entries for your daughter. Good luck! Families like yours are so brave and sacrifice so much. Thank YOU!!

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I am sorry you are so sad since your husband must leave. I was thinking a good gift would be a an interactive scrapbook with picutres, video clips with the voices and ways for him for to feel connected to you, friends and family while he is away it could be a book with dvd's with the clips in it in a nice box with items that will help him connect with you in happy ways, and lift him up when he is missing you. It could tell a story...

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