“Miss you to Pieces” deployment book and a GIVEAWAY! Happy Veterans Day!!
(From Carol: I have been involved with my neighborhood summer swim league for a few years and I have met some of the most amazing people who live right here in my neighborhood through the swim team. One of them is Donna Purkey, who is an award winning author!! She has a husband and two beautiful children L and R. She wrote a book for children to help them deal with a parent on a military deployment. It is a WONDERFUL book , and I encourage you all to purchase a copy for yourselves, or a military family you may know. I am certain it will help with the anxiety of a parent being deployed! For Veterans Day 2013 I want to honor Donna, her husband Keith and their children by letting you all share in Donna's story. AND a GIVEAWAY!!!!)
Everyone has a story to tell, and everyone has a dream to follow. For me, telling my story was following my dream. I have always been a writer and I’ve always enjoyed writing. I am probably one of the few people in the world who still has a pen-pal (since 1988!) and we actually write letters to each other – you know, the “old-fashioned way”. But, that is a topic for a completely different blog post! It has been a life-long dream of mine to write and publish a book, and here’s my story!
I am a Navy wife and mother of two young children. I am also a teacher and a writer. I’d venture to say that I am following my dreams, but to be honest, I never dreamed of marrying a sailor and living the military lifestyle! It just happened…and I am so glad it did! Our children are our greatest gifts and it is because of them that I was inspired to write what has become an award-winning book!
A few years ago, my husband deployed (which he often does). My children were only two and three years old and I wasn’t really sure how the deployment was affecting them. We used a variety of activities to keep Dad a part of our lives and I had to believe they were making a difference. But, to be honest, I despised the never ending paper chain. It was a visual reminder of how much longer we had to wait. The length was depressing.And, we were counting backwards which was ridiculous because my kids couldn’t even count forward. We did, however, love our “Flat Daddy” – a life sized photo board of my husband (from the waist up). He mostly hung out in the living room, and my kids often tried to feed him, kiss him, hug him, etc. He even joined us for Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house and it was a huge hit!
The following year, my husband deployed – again! This time, we had “Dad pillows” and we filled a jar with chocolate kisses so the kids could have “a kiss from Dad” each day. Well, that didn’t work. What kid is happy with ONE piece of chocolate? It was such a tease. And, my kids couldn’t understand why Dad would only give them ONE kiss each day? I quickly lost interest in this idea. It just wasn’t working for us. We needed something else. Something more meaningful. Something more creative.
That’s when I came up with the project that became the inspiration for my award-winning* book, "Miss You to Pieces – A Deployment Story and Project Idea for Kids."
"Miss You to Pieces" is the story of a young boy, Riley, whose dad deploys for six months and the unique puzzle project that his mom (that’s me!) introduces to help Riley count the days until his dad’s return. Simply put, the puzzle project involves adding one piece of the puzzle each day (two pieces on some days!) and when the puzzle is complete, Dad will be home. There’s a little more to it though......
Throughout the story, Riley experiences the normal range of emotions that kids often feel during deployment. But, he grows, just as his puzzle grows, and he comes to realize his mom was right, "The days are like puzzle pieces - some are more exciting than others. But each piece is important because it helps the puzzle grow. And, each day is important because it helps you grow bigger, smarter and stronger!" The story reassures kids that their emotions (like Riley’s) are normal and temporary. And, the puzzle project offers a fun and meaningful way to count the days while providing a daily opportunity to talk and keep the family connected.