Who's Your (Flat) Daddy? | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Who's Your (Flat) Daddy?

I have a couple of friends whom I admire greatly.  Not because they are beautiful, smart, or talented, although they are most definitely all of those things and I do admire them for that.  These friends are particularly amazing to me because they have survived their husbands' military deployments.

I didn't know Rae yet while her husband was deployed, but I have heard her talk about her experiences, and I've watched her worry and rejoice in the past little while when it looked like her husband would be deployed again, and then find out that he wouldn't need to go after all.  For the year her husband was gone to Iraq, I did watch Julie bring her two kids to church every Sunday.  And I boohooed when Joel couldn't sit with me in church?  I don't know if I could make it to church on a very consistent basis if my husband were to leave for that long.  I freak out every Tuesday night when I have to put the kids to bed by myself, for goodness' sake! These are strong women.

But deployment means so much more than just having to go it alone while your husband is gone.  It means that your husband is off fighting a war.  It adds several more layers of emotion that I couldn't even begin to understand, and that's really the crux of it.  These women have no idea if their husbands will come home alive and that is something I just can't comprehend as my husband goes out of town to do pretty un-dangerous things like, oh, conduct orchestras.

I have another amazing friend named Annette Lyon.  A while back, she wrote an article about the wives of deployed soldiers.  As she interviewed these women in her research, she ended up with much more material than the article could ever possibly hold, and the beginnings of a new book were born.  That book, Band of Sisters, was just released a few weeks ago.  I have already read it and I thoroughly enjoyed it (of course).  It definitely opened up my eyes to these women and what they go through during a deployment.

Annette was equally as touched, and she has since decided to promote a very cool charity with her book.

You've heard of Flat Stanley, right?  Chances are high that your child has read the book and done an accompanying Flat Stanley project in school.  Well, this is Flat Daddies.  This charity makes a life-sized photos of the deployed parent (because sometimes it's a Mommy) from the waist up that the family can have with them as a physical presence.  Many families bring their Flat Daddies with them on vacation, to go trick-or-treating, to church, to the store, to soccer games--you name it.  Anywhere Daddy would have gone.

Annette has a page on her website entirely devoted to the Flat Daddy program.  From her page you can read about one family and their experience with their own Flat Daddy.  It is truly inspiring.  Because of the Flat Daddy, their baby girl went straight to her father when he came home.

There is also a lot of information there on how you can help families get a Flat Daddy of their own.  You can donate a little or a lot.  You can buy one for a family you know in real life, or you can contribute to the Flat Daddy of someone you have never met.  Please check it out, and spread the word!

And then go read Band of Sisters.

It's awesome.


  1. You sweetheart--thank you for the shout-out, and thank you for the book!

  2. Awh, I love that! I esp. love the baby going right to her dad after.

  3. I have a brother who's deployed and this program is brilliant. I'm going to try and gift his wife and kids with a Flat Daddy.

    I have such respect for the military and for their families. We're truly so blessed by their sacrifice.

  4. That is so cool.
    I have an internet friend who just lost her husband 2 weeks ago in Afghanistan. She has 3 babies under 3. So sad.

  5. Love this subject and believe these women are some of the strongest ever... I hope to read Annette's new book soon.

  6. These military moms are total unsung heroes. I think the flat daddy thing is awesomer than awesome.

  7. Great Post Lara! When I was married to my ex husband, I was also married to the Air Force for 22 years. I endured many deployments from a short few weeks to months to years. He was deployed during desert storm and iraqi freedom. And boy do I know and understand the stress and emotions the women and children of the Military go through. I felt like a single mother most of the time and was very grateful when they began the Flat Daddy program. However, by the time that program got started, my kids were almost too old for it.... but I was always grateful for the program and could see how important it was for other families with younger children.

    I can't wait to read Annette's book!

  8. Gosh-I couldn't imagine being a military wife! I have an uncle and several cousins who are career Air Force, and my grandpa was, too. The women in their lives are some of my heroes for how they dealt with and continue to deal with what their husbands do.

  9. I am all too familiar with deployments. Just sucks because I'm the wife and the military member......

  10. I think this is a really cool thing. I've had way too many friends have husband who've been deployed. One who had to deliver a baby while her husband watched via satellite from Iraq. I can't imagine how impossibly hard that would be.
    Annette is doing amazing things!
    I'm dying to read her book.

  11. Flat Daddy sounds like a really neat project, and something that would be very helpful for families.

    Thanks for reminding me about it. I feel like my head is in a constant fog.

  12. Yes! I did a shout-out about this on my blog, too. There was a great response and interest. And Annette's book sounds great!!

  13. aww, thanks for thinking about me Lara! I'm going to have to read that book