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Finding Family Time without Pressure

How not to pressure your family to make memories before a deployment.

Family time

For military families, life can careen out of control. Stress piles upon stress and we find ourselves surrounded by chaos with no peace in sight. It’s at these times that we have to make our own peace and find our own oasis. It is possible. I know because I’ve experienced it first hand.

We were getting ready to send our son off on his first deployment. We were fortunate to live close—only 5 hours away—enough to base that we could actually come and see him off. Send-offs are tricky because the military doesn’t announce an exact date for departure, instead the have a “window” of time. This is due to safety concerns as well as logistic issues. But it does make it tough for family who lives far away to come say goodbye.

We came to town at the beginning of the window, hoping to be able to stay long enough to say goodbye. That pre-deployment time is stressful. We wanted to make the most of our time together, but we really couldn’t make concrete plans because he would be called to leave at any time. 

This is where the oasis comes in. Instead of forcing ourselves into a strict schedule of trying to make every minute count, we just relaxed with our son and his brothers, doing things we enjoyed like going to movies, bowling and eating take-out. We played cards, took walks and just made an effort not to cram too much into a day. It worked. The pressure eased off as we simply took each moment as it came. It especially seemed to help our son as he was to enjoy normal things. 

If you find yourself feeling pressured in a chaotic family situation with the clock ticking, here are three tips for finding your oasis:

1)  Start with God. Turn your worries over to Him and remind yourself that He is the one in control, not us. Ask Him to bless your time with your loved one and know that He will.

2)  Focus on relationships, not events. What we do isn’t the important part, it’s who we’re with that makes the difference.

3)  Stick with fun things to do that you’ve all enjoyed before as a family. Now isn’t the time to get creative and try to force epic memories. 

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