He Said, “Send Anything”

My first thought for Sergeant J’s care package was: PIRATES! This is because I learned that Talk Like A Pirate Day is coming. I figured eye patches, Pirate Booty popcorn, pirate cups, plates, and whatever else a deployed pirate might need. Then I checked the date and it’s on September 19th. Damn. My box wouldn’t make it to Afghanistan by then because mail delivery takes at least two weeks. My pirate idea was scuttled. Instead, I could do a theme I’ve done before or simply no theme. “Anything” is pretty open. Almost too open. So I kept thinking.

I looked up other strange holidays for inspiration and learned of National Bacon Day. Sounds fun, but it’s not an option because you never send pork products to the Middle East. I would also never send related items like bacon-scented soap and bacon-flavored dental floss (real products.) While they are technically not bacon, why walk around smelling like contraband? Toss in whiskey shampoo (also real) and you’ve got a recipe for trouble. Sadly, Bacon Day didn’t get me any closer to a care package idea.

It’s A Girl!

Then I found out that Sergeant J’s wife just gave birth to a baby girl! Wonderfully, they now have two little girls. Conveniently, it also made my job easier. I decided to send him a box of every pink candy I could find to celebrate the arrival of his sweet baby girl. I thought it would be fun for him to share with his buddies.

I put my daughter Sofia in charge of selection. She was literally “kid in a candy store” happy about this and went off-mission only slightly. When she discovered non-pink gummies shaped like Mario, fighter jets, and dinosaurs, she insisted that he had to have them. Then she continued her treasure hunt. We avoided anything chocolate because “chocolate season” is between November and April (other times of the year are too hot and it would melt.)

Doing this with Sofia was very special to me. I used to have her help me a lot. But one day she was writing a letter to a soldier and I looked over her shoulder. It said, “I wish I could trade places with you.” With tears in her eyes, she told me she was afraid he would get hurt and worried about all of them. I took the pen from her hand. Then I let her decide if and when she wanted to help. After a long break, she got involved again. Each time, it touches my heart.

After all the candy she picked out for Sergeant J, she found one small lollipop she wanted for herself. Of course I said yes.

Pink candy care package for soldier. It's a girl!

I put a list of contents. But good luck matching them all up.

Baby on the way, civilians on the case

Soldiers’ Angels has a group of volunteers that love to help deployed families celebrate their bundles of joy. It’s called Top Knot. I pulled the info below from the Soldiers’ Angels site and Top Knot also has a facebook page. I shared this with Sergeant J in case he and his family would like to sign up.

Top Knot is a nationwide network of service clubs and Angel individuals who sew, knit and shop to create gift baskets for infants and expectant mothers in military families. Deployments are difficult on the entire family unit, but even more so when that family is expecting or has an infant child. Our mission is to commend the women and children at home for their strength, to let them know we are proud of their sacrifices as well as their husbands’ and fathers’, and most importantly, to do what we can to support them during the emotionally challenging times of deployment.

Our dedicated volunteers knit, crochet, sew, quilt, and design blankets, booties, hats, onesies, bibs, and many more homemade gifts. We also assemble and deliver gift baskets full of goodies such as bottles, diapers, onesies, pacifiers, washcloths, grooming kits, and more. Additionally, we make sure to remember Dad by sending “It’s a Boy!” or “It’s a Girl!” bubblegum cigars to wherever he is stationed.

Anything goes

According to my holiday research, National Punctuation Day and Hug A Vegetarian Day are both right around the corner. If I knew that Sergeant J felt strongly about either commas or broccoli lovers, I would try to find a way to make those themes work. In the absence of such knowledge, I’m feeling good about the pink candy idea. Although, I know this soldier would appreciate anything.

© Gina left the mall, 2013

30 thoughts on “He Said, “Send Anything”

  1. Gina,

    What you are doing is thoughtful and selfless. That your baby girl helps is so touching.

    Showing kindness and love to others is one of the finest things we can do as humans. I love the way you bring light and joy into these troops lives, and want to send you the biggest hug EVER! Love you and your big heart. Tiny hug for your daughter. Brava! 😀

    • Theresa,
      Thank you for this lovely note and the hugs, both big and small! It’s my pleasure to do these things because of all that our troops do (they are truly the selfless ones.) Of course, it’s even more of a pleasure when Sofia helps me show a little kindness 🙂

  2. I do not know how you do it. You come up with the best ideas ever. I read your words and think, “Why can’t I think of something that creative. Bless you Gina. You are the best!!!!!

  3. Loved the idea of pink sweets for a baby girl, and it’s great that you’re getting your little loved one involved at such an early age. Start them young I say, and watch what wonderful adults they grow into.

  4. I found your blog by looking up the tag “deployment” since I’ll be in that boat soon. Hope you don’t mind me reading/commenting. The candy seems awesome – even though my fiance’s deployment isn’t for another few months, I’ve been trying to think of things to send him while he’s gone… Somehow candy didn’t even cross my mind, which is crazy since everyone needs candy. Glad I saw this.

  5. Nothing says sweet baby girl like pink candy. I think it’s great that Sophia helps out, and isn’t afraid to let you know how she’s feeling about her involvement. I remember being 8 or 9 and wearing those POW bracelets during the Vietnam War…it was sobering, even for a child.

    • Glad you like the pink idea 🙂 Sofia was about 6 when she wrote that letter. It hurt to hear how stressed she was. But I was grateful that she did let me know. And I’m sure those POW bracelets were very sobering. It’s amazing how much kids discern and absorb even if they don’t know the full extent of what’s going on.

  6. I AM SERGEANT J’S WIFE!!! He told me that you had done this for him, and he was absolutely thrilled with the results. He has been telling me about all of the baby bottle pops and pacifier lollipops and the sheer amount of pink that was in the box. He is so grateful for both the package and your friendship (and so am I)! Thank you so much for brightening his day! (And expect an add request via facebook soon, lol)

    • Emily, so nice to “meet” you! And please know that this was an absolute pleasure for Sofia and me to do. We must have spent an hour in that candy store..lol. I am SO happy that he liked it. When he told me that it made his buddies smile too, I was thrilled. I know Sgt. J is short on pink right now. I hope this helps hold him over until he can come home and meet your beautiful baby girl! I also hope that you have lots of wonderful people around you to help right now. I look forward to see more baby pics on facebook 🙂

    • Hi Emily. my name is Kyndal. I am a big fan and a big supporter and prayer warrior of the troops. Hope you won’t mind if I ask you this, sometime when you get to talk to your husband J, will you tell him that I say “Thank You” to him for his wonderful service to our country!!

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