Whether it's Christmas trees up in April or celebrating Thanksgiving in July, military families are no strangers to celebrating events at times other than those dictated by the calendar. Which, if you're like me and think about sending birthday presents or cards after the fact, is a good thing.
I'm constantly justifying my forgetfulness by saying I am "extending the celebration," and it's something I personally love.
Recently, I saw some people struggling with what to do about sending graduation gifts this summer. Or wedding gifts for ceremonies that are postponed. Or meal trains for new babies. What's the right answer? What would Emily Post say?
I'm not sure what Emily would say, honestly. But here's where I'm landing on this.
1. Celebrating a graduation
Everyone is craving personal connection during the pandemic, and they would love to get mail from you now -- real mail, with a stamp. They're missing out on stuff, and they will cherish that you thought of them right now. Plus, if you're sending money for college or to set up their new home, it'll be nice for them to have that during the crisis.
2. Celebrating a Wedding
You can send something later, particularly if you think you'll be able to see them soon -- or if there is already a new date for their ceremony. Maybe they even made it easy and told you their new plans, so you can adjust accordingly. Plus, if you know they are moving, you don't want to risk the gift getting lost in the mail.
3. Celebrating a New Baby
This may be the hardest one to put off, but one of the most important. Traditionally, a new baby means meals delivered for a few days to a week to the parents. There are several options, with delivery services available to send something from their favorite restaurant. But my preferred method is -- and has always been -- to wait. Yes, not having to cook the first few days after I got home from the hospital was great. But it was even better when a meal appeared a few weeks later, when I was sleep-deprived and my spouse was back at work.
So many changes are coming over the next few weeks, and we don't know what they're going to look like. Parents at all stages are going to need grace and help maneuvering through the end of summer into the school year. New parents are going to feel lonely and forgotten. Graduates are going to feel like they missed out on so much, and newlyweds will be busy re-planning a wedding while navigating their first year of marriage.
So many things have changed, but one remains the same. The military community is going to be the rock that many people cling to. The camaraderie, the fellowship, the understanding that we have for each other in the constant changes are what will get us through.
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