Any military spouse will tell you that the first night of a deployment is the pits. I can't speak from experience, but I imagine it is hard on the military child, too.
So what do you do? How about a family slumber party! We decided to do this days before Daddy left and talked about it every now and then, hoping it would give at least a small positive spin on deployment day. It seemed to work; the child thing cried a little when we said goodbye, but as soon as we got back home, she asked if it was time for the slumber party yet.
When the time did come, we spread out our sleeping bags, popped some popcorn and watched a Tinkerbell movie. Exciting for her, staying up after bedtime and all. And me, well...at least I didn't have to crawl into that lonely, empty bed.
We will definitely keep this in mind for any future deployments (though if we don't have any more deployments, that would be ok, too!), and hopefully next time, we can include the baby in our slumber party also. I suppose we'll have to come up with something other than Tinkerbell if he joins in.