Military spouse, author, and mother of five Lizann Lightfoot has been through seven deployments (and six duty stations) with her family. She specializes in offering deployment support through her Seasoned Spouse blog and online support group and has also developed The Deployment Masterclass, a resource to help military spouses and significant others navigate the most common deployment challenges.
Tell us some of your favorite goals that you have accomplished during deployment?
I usually have some fitness goals like eating a healthy diet or losing weight. I will challenge myself to try new types of workouts, including training for a 10k race, my furthest distance.
Does your family have any homecoming traditions?
There can be a lot of excitement and “I want to do these 1,000 things with my parent when they come back.” I would encourage my kids to write them down and put a bunch of pieces of paper or Post-It notes into a jar. After dad came home, we would let them draw out one or two pieces of paper at a time and those are the things we would do that day.
What is the biggest misconception new military families have about deployment?
I think the biggest surprise initially that they aren’t prepared for is pre-deployment. There are usually several months of chaotic training. Everyone assumes families are fine with that but often it can be more stressful and harder than the deployment itself.
Has deployment helped your children at all?
Overall, it does help our kids be stronger. I have taught them that life doesn’t always go how we planned, and I hope they have developed good coping strategies for when they are older.
Can you share a favorite deployment story or memory?
The first time he missed a Christmas during our marriage he was coming back in February, so it was close enough that we wanted to leave the tree up and keep the presents wrapped. My husband’s name is Daniel, so we said we were celebrating “Danmas,” and we all exchanged gifts and ate Christmas food.
Lightfoot’s new book “Open When: Letters of Encouragement for Military Spouses” will be published in September by Elva Resa Publishing. Find more details here: https://elvaresa.com/book/open-when/
You can find this story and more in our July issue of Military Families Magazine. Download it here.