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Deployment

08/26/2013 08:14PM ● Published by Anonymous

Photo courtesy of Christopher Reistroffer

Gallery: The Olson Family [4 Images] Click any image to expand.

How did you explain military service to your daughter? How did you tell your daughter about the deployment?

Honestly, there was no easy way. We sat her down and asked her if she knew why daddy was in the Air Guards and we explained to her that "he protects us and our country from bad guys." Then we told her, "Sometimes, our military heroes need to be gone from home for long periods of time to make sure we are all safe." We explained to her that our military works as a team to keep us all safe and that she and I would need to be a team with daddy being gone that long. I know at the time when we told her it would be for 7 months, she didn't get it. I don't think she got it even when he left. Remembering back, I think about 2 months in is when it finally hit her that he would be gone for a lot longer than she expected. It was then that she truly began to miss him, and my main goal was to keep her little mind occupied for times like this.

She was my main priority of the summer. Not only was I worried about him, I woke up worrying about her and went to bed worrying about her. I tried to fill her days with as much fun as we could have just to keep her mind off of his absence. I knew it was going to be hard for her because Jerime is a huge hands-on father. He does everything with her. One of her first questions was, "Who's gonna come have lunch with me every week at school?" He does that – he does it all, so I had some big shoes to fill!

What did your family do to prepare?

 The first thing we did was go and buy a big huge jar and a big bag of gummy bears and we counted out a gummy bear for every day that he would be gone. After we counted them, we dropped them into the jar and put them right on her dresser in her room. Each night she would eat one and we would know we were one day closer. I can't begin to tell you the excitement we felt when we could move the gummy bears into a smaller jar and squealed with delight when we were on our last week's worth

Jerime's deployment gift to us was an iPad, and I can't even tell you how much FaceTime was our biggest gift. Everyday at 2pm our time, Gracie and I would race home from wherever we were and wait for Jerime's call. There was not one time in his 7-month deployment that we didn't talk at 2pm, whether it was for 30 seconds or 15 minutes. Just knowing we had that time everyday was a true blessing for all of us. We shared pancake breakfasts, bedtime stories, Fourth of July fireworks, classroom parties, first day of school, and first snowfall. That connection and communication allowed all of us to feel a little normalcy in our lives, even though we were miles away. Our family and friends all knew that at 2pm, they could find Gracie and I huddled around the iPad with smiles on our faces, comforting each other through tears and laughter

Another thing we did was send packages. I think we sent almost 20 total. It was a great way to send our love to him from far away. And Facebook was also fabulous. I uploaded pictures every single day.

What advice do you have for families in the same situation?

Surround yourself with friends and family and support. Take everyone up on any offer to keep you busy. Gracie and I made so many wonderful memories and friends during the deployment. It's amazing the people who reach out to you; it's something I honestly will never forget. It was hard – don't get me wrong. I had to keep a positive mind daily because if I didn't, it was easy to wallow in grief. People always asked me, "Is it hard to have a child during deployment?" My answer was, "She was absolutely the best piece of joy I could have around me. She was my little piece of him, and my reason to stay happy and positive."

I also kept a "YOU CAN DO IT" wall in our bedroom. This was for more of a personal reason for myself, for all those things I had to depend on myself to get through instead of my husband. About 2 weeks into the deployment, I found myself with a flat tire. I didn't even know what to do, but in the end, I did it, and I got my first Post-it® note. Others included:

  • a bat in our house
  • celebrating our 13-year anniversary without him
  • getting through Gracie spraining her wrist 
  • fixing our water heater
  • snaking a toilet
  • carrying up our porch swing that blew off our deck during a storm (all by myself, might I add)

These were just a few of my accomplishments, all those things that I depended on him to do. Each of the notes I put up made me believe that I could do it, that I was doing it, and that I will do it

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

We went into the deployment as a team, and we came out so much stronger in the end. Each day we could talk on the iPad made us focus on what was important and the end reward of being together. The little things didn't matter. Nothing mattered, as long as he was safe and would be coming home to us The night we picked him up from the airport was honestly the most emotional time in my life for me. Our relationship was solid going in, but at the end of the deployment I was more in love with him than I had ever been. I remember him coming down the escalator and scooping up Gracie. I let them have a moment, and then as soon as he set her down and motioned for me, everything became a blur. The only way I can describe it is an out of body experience. As crazy as it sounds, we were both lost in that moment, almost like two old souls reuniting again. I have never felt a greater joy or more love in my heart than at that moment, having my crazy little family back together! 

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    01/28/2018
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Open gyms are a time for people to drop in to play basketball. If space allows, volleyball may al...


  • Join us at the Museum of Visual Materials for these free activities. No registration is required ...


  • Toddler Jump

    01/29/2018
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    Join us for one of the highlights of our week, Toddler Jump at Air Madness. During Toddler Jump, ...


  • Make it Monday Kids!

    01/29/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Make it Monday Kids! $5 off any Christmas Items!* Under 15 years old. All day! Restrictions Apply.


  • Inflatables and PlayDome

    01/29/2018
    11:00AM — 08:00PM

    The County Fair has family entertainment for kids of any age—from our inflatables and Play Dome j...


  • Open Hockey

    01/29/2018
    11:00AM — 01:00PM

    Open Hockey Monday & Wednesdays 11-1:00 pm Friday 2:00-4:00 pm $10.00 - per session $100 -...


  • Scheel's Family Open Ice Skate

    01/29/2018
    11:00AM — 01:00PM

    Scheel's Family Open Ice Skate Open Skate Rates: Admission – $6.00 $4.00 for ages 12 and under...


  • Hood Night at the Sioux Falls SkyForce

    01/29/2018
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Come join The 'Hood Magazine at the SkyForce game!


  • Join us at the Museum of Visual Materials for these free activities. No registration is required ...


  • Skyzone Toddler Time

    01/30/2018
    09:30AM — 11:30AM

    Toddler Time is a great shared experience for child and parent. A time for your little ones to di...


  • Inflatables and PlayDome

    01/30/2018
    11:00AM — 08:00PM

    The County Fair has family entertainment for kids of any age—from our inflatables and Play Dome j...


  • Ladies Night

    01/30/2018
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Ladies Night! Receive 20% off your purchase.


  • Kindergarten Round-Up

    01/30/2018
    06:30PM — 08:00PM

    Sioux Falls Lutheran School invites you to get acquainted with our kindergarten program at our an...


  • A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER

    01/30/2018
    07:30PM — 10:00PM

    Getting away with murder can be so much fun… and there’s no better proof than the knock-‘em-dead ...


  • Join us at the Museum of Visual Materials for these free activities. No registration is required ...


  • Toddler Jump

    01/31/2018
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    Join us for one of the highlights of our week, Toddler Jump at Air Madness. During Toddler Jump, ...


  • Inflatables and PlayDome

    01/31/2018
    11:00AM — 08:00PM

    The County Fair has family entertainment for kids of any age—from our inflatables and Play Dome j...


  • Open Hockey

    01/31/2018
    11:00AM — 01:00PM

    Open Hockey Monday & Wednesdays 11-1:00 pm Friday 2:00-4:00 pm $10.00 - per session $100 -...


  • Scheel's Family Open Ice Skate

    01/31/2018
    11:00AM — 01:00PM

    Scheel's Family Open Ice Skate Open Skate Rates: Admission – $6.00 $4.00 for ages 12 and under...


  • Discount Skate Night

    01/31/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Skate for $1.00 an hour every Wednesday during our Discount Skate Night! Wednesdays • 6-9pm A...


  • Open Skate Discount Night

    01/31/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Open skating session for all ages at a discounted rate! Admission is $3. Regular skate rental fee...


  • A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER

    01/31/2018
    07:30PM — 10:00PM

    Getting away with murder can be so much fun… and there’s no better proof than the knock-‘em-dead ...


  • Tot Time

    02/01/2018
    05:30AM — 10:30AM

    Tot time is designed for toddlers and other little tikes, 6 years and younger, who may not be com...


  • Walking Program

    02/01/2018
    08:00AM — 10:00AM

    Location: Morningside Community Center, 2400 South Bahnson Avenue Walking is one of the best w...


  • 2018 Spring Classes

    02/01/2018
    08:00AM

    Register for spring classes at the Community Learning Center at your Washington Pavilion! We want...


  • Skyzone Toddler Time

    02/01/2018
    09:30AM — 11:30AM

    Toddler Time is a great shared experience for child and parent. A time for your little ones to di...


  • Toddler Time

    02/01/2018
    09:30AM — 11:30AM

    Toddler Time is a great shared experience for child and parent. A time for your little ones to di...


  • Little All Stars

    02/01/2018
    10:00AM — 10:50AM

    LITTLE ALL STARS (Walking to 6 years )


  • Wee Play & Learn

    02/01/2018
    10:00AM — 11:15AM

    Come with your child to play, meet other families, and talk one-on-one with child development exp...


  • Inflatables and PlayDome

    02/01/2018
    11:00AM — 08:00PM

    The County Fair has family entertainment for kids of any age—from our inflatables and Play Dome j...


  • New Baby & Me

    02/01/2018
    01:30PM — 03:30PM

    This group for new moms and their babies meets weekly. Moms can join in open discussion on topics...


  • Creative Kids

    02/01/2018
    03:15PM — 04:00PM

    Elementary-aged children are invited to join us for books, activities, and a craft. For more info...


  • S.T.E.A.M. -N- Thursdays

    02/01/2018
    03:30PM — 04:15PM

    Discover science, technology, engineering, art and math through activities. This month's theme: S...


  • A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER

    02/01/2018
    07:30PM — 10:00PM

    Getting away with murder can be so much fun… and there’s no better proof than the knock-‘em-dead ...


  • Walking Program

    02/02/2018
    08:00AM — 10:00AM

    Location: Morningside Community Center, 2400 South Bahnson Avenue Walking is one of the best w...


  • 2018 Spring Classes

    02/02/2018
    08:00AM

    Register for spring classes at the Community Learning Center at your Washington Pavilion! We want...


  • Inflatables and PlayDome

    02/02/2018
    11:00AM — 08:00PM

    The County Fair has family entertainment for kids of any age—from our inflatables and Play Dome j...


  • First Free Friday

    02/02/2018
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Join us for Free First Fridays, whether you are new to the area, new to the Pavilion, or even a r...


  • Little All Stars

    02/02/2018
    06:30PM — 07:20PM

    LITTLE ALL STARS (Walking to 6 years )


  • Teen Night at Skate City

    02/02/2018
    08:00PM — 11:00PM

    This session is directed toward, but not reserved for, middle to high school aged skaters.