When You Hate Deployments
Our first deployment came about nine months after my life as a military spouse first began. This was after spending about 4.5 months apart waiting to join my husband in Germany. He left the following August, and that deployment didn’t end until November of the following year.
That was such a long time to be away from my husband. Even now, all these years later, I can’t even believe we got through that. I had a baby during that deployment, a toddler, and lived in Germany, far away from family and what we were used to.
Over the years my husband deployed three more times. I got through each of these the best I could. I got through them one day at a time, one hour at a time sometimes. I somehow made it through those challenges.
I thought that my deployment days were over, but as we are starting to possibly get ready for deployment #5, I am starting to get a bit nervous. There is so much on my mind, and I just don’t know how that time apart is going to go.
See, I hate deployments.
Sure, there are benefits from them. You can grow as a person, you can do things you otherwise wouldn’t, you can find ways to become a better person.
You can bond with other spouses, you can learn more about yourself, and you can feel stronger than you ever have once they come home.
But I hate deployments.
And although my kids are much older this time, I am still nervous. No, I won’t have to change all the diapers by myself, but I will have two teenagers during the deployment.
All my kids will be in school, but I will be too, with all the stress that brings.
And I will still miss my husband just as much. The one I decided I wanted to spend my life with. The one I have so much fun with. My biggest cheerleader.
So as I look ahead, what can I do when I already know how much deployments suck? What can I say to myself to help get in a better mood about this? What can I do to make the future deployment less painful?
I am going to try to think positively
I am going to go into this deployment trying to think positively about the next year. This will be hard to do. But I want to start this deployment with the hope that everything will be okay. I want to go into the deployment without hating it and to do that I have to change my thinking about what is to come.
I am making lists of people and things that will help me
I know I have people I can depend on. I know there are things that will help me through. I am going to make a list of these people and things. From who I can call on my hardest deployment days, to the easy meals to make during one of those deployment nights when cooking is the last thing I want to do.
I am going to remind myself the deployment is not forever
This is something I will have to repeat to myself over and over. Deployments don’t last forever; deployments don’t last forever, deployments don’t last forever. They start, they are, then they end.
It might seem a bit strange to have to remind yourself of this, but I know for myself, I can get stuck in feeling like the deployment will last forever. Even when I know that logically that is impossible, my heart doesn’t always understand.
I am going to give myself permission to cry
If I need to cry, I am going to cry. But I am also going to work on having good days, even though my husband will be across the ocean.
I am going to have to stay strong for my kids, I am going to have to be there to help them through the deployment, and I am going to have to be strong for them as well as for myself.
But somedays, I might need to cry. That is how I get the frustration and sadness out. That is one step to help feeling better about everything. Crying might just be what I need to do.
I am going to take it one day at a time
I am going to take this deployment one day a time because sometimes that is all I can do. There are going to be challenges along the way, and not every day is going to be a good one. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be able to handle what comes my way.
Not everyone likes to count down the days of a deployment, but I do. (Not online of course, just in my own journal, OPSEC and everything.) I like to see how far I have come. I like to know how much longer I will have to go. I like to know where I am in the middle of the deployment.
And I think it is good to celebrate the little things during a deployment. I have been in FRGs that have 100-day parties. I get excited about a new movie coming out, or a new book release. I make plans, and make memories with my kids, even when he is gone.
I know during our next deployment there will be days when I will wake and say, “man, I hate deployments.” However, I am going to try hard not to be too sad and upset the whole time he is gone. That isn’t going to be good for me, my kids, or even my husband.
He has a job to do, and he will need to get it done. And I will be here, cheering him along, making each day count, and trying to thrive more than just survive during the deployment.