Last year my nephew sent me a "Flat Stanley" for a school project. Stanley was a small, flat, six-inch, paper man, and my job was to take pictures of him at interesting spots throughout the city. That was a simple middle school project. But what if a flat, cardboard-like man was the only way you got to see your husband or father? That's exactly how some military families are getting through deployments.
The pictures are called Flat Daddies, and they're made by a company with the same name. The concept is self-explanatory: you send the company a picture of your deployed loved one and they create a life-size poster (from the waist up). You're then free to do with it what you'd like, and some families have even plastered the pictures on hard backings and started treating them as fill-ins:
A quick Google search reveals the Wyse family isn't the only one to use a Flat Daddy as a substitute -- the concept has been around for years:
According to the company's website, Flat Daddies are the creation of Sergeant First Class Barbara Claudel of the Maine National Guard. They're "a way to help the families in Maine stay connected to their loved ones serving."
To date, it says it's shipped 9,098 of the poster doppelgangers. Families can order them for $49.50, or they can also be sent as gifts.
"Thank you so much for the flat daddy!" one woman writes on the testimonial section of the company's site. "It is so realistic that it took a few days to get used to because it would startle me whenever I went into the room with it thinking there was someone there. It really helped my 1 year old be comfortable with my husband when he came home for his R&R leave."