Bridging the Miles with Love and Resilience, One Pocket at a Time
1. Could you share some insights into your military background and what motivated you to author your book?
I have been a military spouse for 15 years, and because my husband is a pilot, flight suits have been a part of our family for those years as well. I am also a pediatric therapist and former teacher, so I have always been connected to our military kids. It is incredible how strong and resilient they are.
Saying goodbye during deployments, work-ups, or extended travel is one of the hardest things that military families do. We all want to keep that close connection, but it can be hard to transition from mom or dad physically present in everyday life to them being so far away. I wanted to create something that would support the child-parent relationship, even when a family is far apart for a while.
2. What key messages or themes do you aim to communicate through your book, especially to fellow military families and individuals?
I hope that this book provides military families with a way to foster connection during deployments. The concept of “My Flight Suit Pocket” is that the child can send the parent notes, cards, drawings, or small momentos from everyday life for them to keep inside the pocket that is closest to their heart. I hope that it brings comfort to both the child and the parent to know that they share this pocket. For the deployed parent, it provides a regular connection to their child’s daily life. For the child and the parent at home, it provides a way to maintain communication and contact with the deployed parent. They can write a short note about their day, draw a picture, or even send a tiny flower or rock that they found on a walk. I offer free printables and simple craft ideas to hopefully make this a bit easier, and also, I share a secret with the parents….you don’t actually have to keep it all in the flight suit pocket! You can keep a small number of favorites and the rest can be treasured in a box. 😉
3. How has your personal military journey influenced the narratives you choose to present?
Without being a part of the military family, I would have never known the difficulty of deployments. It is incredibly hard to say goodbye to someone who you love and who is part of your everyday life for months at a time.
Without being a parent, I would have never known that despite the best of intentions, days get busy and it can be difficult to think of a continuous supply of ideas to send mail to the deployed parent. This is even more true when you consider that this occurs when your partner, co-parent, and best friend is gone, so it is all you on the home front. I hope that this book is written in a way that fosters connection, creates a special connection that spans the miles, and also helps the spouse at home support that connection…it is really all about connection.
4. In what manner do you think your book could connect with and offer support to other military families encountering similar challenges?
I truly hope that this book helps kids and parents to feel connected during deployments. I cannot think of anything more important than I could do through pages of a book. In fact, it is why I created the storyline, the book, and the additional resources!
5. Were there particular obstacles or gratifying moments you faced during the writing process that you'd like to discuss?
I thought of the concept of this book, and then I could not stop thinking about it. I was in the process of publishing a different book (I am a pediatric occupational therapist and have a book and program that explains sensory modulation to kids and families) and kept telling myself that I had no room on my plate to create and publish My Flight Suit Pocket. But something about it just kept talking to me, so I finally decided to give it a try.
To be completely honest, after multiple roadblocks, I finally “gave up” one day, created the best version that I could, decided to just publish it and see what happened, and expected to sell a handful, which I truly hoped would reach out into the world and help our families. I have been absolutely blown away by the support that this book has received. Within 24 hours of its launch, it was the #1 New Release on Amazon for Military Families and it then climbed to be a Top 5 Bestseller on Amazon. Our community is incredibly supportive and the response has made me question even more, how can I serve our families? I am currently in the process of donating the original illustrations!
6. Are there any upcoming projects or endeavors related to your book or future writing endeavors that you'd like to disclose to our audience?
YES!!! I am currently working on illustrations for a Mom Edition of My Flight Suit Pocket that I hope to release in January. Once that project has launched, I have heard from military members who serve in uniforms other than flight suits that they want a book too. Stay tuned for My Uniform Pocket, which will feature an array of uniforms from different branches!