I hope you thoroughly enjoy holding a pen in your hand as this is your new lifeline to your Army soldier as an Army spouse.
One piece of advice – write every day.
My husband repeatedly told me that letters were like gold. It is their only tie to home or the outside world. After the first week or so, the letters were starting to feel forced.
So I just started telling him about my day at work. I also would send him jokes and copies of emails.
I would send him the “ESPN update” each Sunday with all the scores.
As long as they get letters, they couldn’t care less what they are about. It used to bore him to tears to hear about my job when he was home, but at basic, he was thrilled so long as it meant he was getting mail.
On writing not-so-positive letters…
One thing that there are contradicting opinions about among Army spouses is if all of your letters should be completely positive.
While I agree that you should try to keep them as positive as possible, don’t cover up your true feelings either.
If your car breaks down or the air conditioner at your home quits working, don’t tell him about it if you can help it, as there’s not a thing he can do about it.
But when it comes to your feelings, letting him know that you miss him and that you have a really hard day once in a while is okay.
Once during basic, I wrote my husband a very long letter about how hard the separation was and my feelings surrounding it. I did warn him in the letter that I was feeling depressed and told him if it would bother him not to read past a certain point.
After I mailed it, I felt horrible because I thought I was being selfish. But I received the sweetest letter in return with his reassurance. He later told me he was glad that I sent it.
Don’t make your soldier feel that you can’t function without them, but it is nice to know that it is harder without them around, and they are missed. You don’t want them to think you’re just living it up without them.
Don’t slack off just because basic is over!
When my husband was in OSUT, basic training ended when he came home for two weeks for Christmas Exodus.
Once they returned, they were in the AIT phase. My husband told me that their mail decreased dramatically after the Christmas break. Don’t let this be the case with your soldier! I still continued to write every day.
They typically only have mail call a couple of times a week. Because of this, ensure you date or number each letter so they can read them in sequence. If you’re writing every day, your soldier should get several at once!
During my husband’s AIT, they had a mail call one day, and he asked one of the guys to get his for him because he was shining his boots. The guys came back up in a few minutes and said they only had 10 letters to pass out, and 5 of them belonged to my husband. But he said he was thrilled!
Many drill sergeants will have the soldiers do push-ups to get their mail. Some moms and wives have emailed me to tell me they feel horrible about causing their soldiers to do so many push-ups. Well, no need to fret.
First, I’m sure your soldier is thrilled to do his push-ups if it means he’s getting mail. Second, he is going to have to do push-ups regardless, all during his training, so it may as well be for something positive.
If he’s not getting mail and, therefore, not having to do push-ups during mail calls, I can promise you the DS will find another excuse for him to get down and push!
So go out shopping and invest in a nice pen, a roll of stamps and a pack of paper. Your soldier will never be so happy you decided to spend money!