Being apart from family and friends because of the pandemic has been a very painful experience for millions of people worldwide. But for military families, this situation has always been the norm.
A kid whose parents serve in the military had to experience sad goodbyes when their parents get deployed – something that tendds to happen a lot.
They mostly correspond through letters, drawings, homemade greeting cards, and taped voice or video recordings sent back and forth via costly USPS shipping. The chance to be able to speak to each other was rare.
But thanks to technology and social media, military families now have access to many communication methods other than snail mail. Although that doesn’t make them miss their parents less, it gave them a chance to see and speak to each other more regularly.
A couple of siblings have gone viral for the creative way they’ve been keeping in touch with their deployed dad — by sending messages to him through their Ring doorbell camera.
A video from 2019 that circulated on Twitter shows them recording messages for their dad, who was deployed in Kuwait at the time. The dad would spend the rest of 2018 and most of 2019 overseas, and with the 8-hour time difference, it was challenging to talk to his family.
But the time apart became more bearable because Army Major Peter DeCrans received a sweet video almost every day from his kids, courtesy of his family’s Ring doorbell system.
For 5-year-old Petroula and 7-year-old Zerick, the doorbell became a lifeline to their deployed dad. The kids take turns sharing stories about their day, knowing their father was on the other end to listen.
The incredible idea to use the Ring doorbell came from the kids’ grandfather.
“My dad was like, one day, ‘Why don’t you guys go tell hi to your dad, you can use this function, and he can see it over [in Kuwait],'” their mom Cierra said. “It blew their little minds.”
The video, which was first shared by Twitter users Travis Akers and Rex Chapman, shows the children stopping by their front porch to ring the bell and record well-wishes and updates for their dad. Through the Ring system, the dad can access the recordings from wherever he is.
The messages were filled with “I miss yous,” “I love yous,” and updates like when someone had a haircut or achieved milestones like as learning how to ride a bike.
In one of the videos, Zerick tells his dad to come home and waves as he steps off the porch, saying, “Bye daddy, I’m going to school to learn a lot.”
Another clip shows him excitedly telling his dad about how he learned to ride a bike without training wheels.
“Dad, I graduated from riding my bike now,” the boy said. “All I need for help is to push; then I’m all going by myself! With no training wheels, dad! How cool is that?!”
Then there are the most touching clips of Petroula, who leaves multiple messages wishing her dad would come back soon.
“Dada, I love you so much. Please, come home soon. I love you,” she would say.
The tweet has been viewed over a million times and shared by more than 7,000 people. Many viewers have replied to Chapman’s tweet since it first went out on November 18.
The responses have been mostly a reminder to thank a service member, past or present. Others have commented on how brave military kids are while some shared their own experiences.
“Rex, this is great,” someone said in a reply. “Reminds me of when my dad was deployed. He was Commander in the Navy for 25 years. Now, at age 64, I remember, and it’s your fault I have these tears in my eyes. Thank you. Face with tears of joy. I’m sure their dad on these Ring messages smiles a lot and cries a little too.”
Amry Major DeCrans is certainly one lucky father to have such sweet children who always remember him.
Watch the video below to hear some of their messages. Prepare some tissues, though, because it’s about to get emotional.