I have been forever changed by the years my husband has either been deployed or has been away from us. I am a different person because of them.
They are my past and will always impact my future. They have changed the way I parent, how I make friends, and will influence the choices I will make in the future.
Looking back I tend to cringe when I remember all the bad. The hard nights, the sad nights, the rough days, the breakdowns, and all of that. But if I really look into it, I know I have learned and grown as a person because of them. I know that in some ways, deployments have changed me for the better.
Gaining that independence
As much as I hate having to take care of the house all by myself when my husband is gone, as much as I hate having to be the only one making certain decisions, it has made me into a more independent person.
I have had to become one. I had no other choice. This isn’t to say I never feel like I need my husband because I do, just that I know I can do things on my own if I need to. It is a little freeing. And a little scary.
I can sympathize more with others
If I hear someone else is getting ready to send their spouse off to war, I can totally sympathize with that. I can be a listening ear, someone to talk to about the separation, and I truly understand how hard it can be to say goodbye.
I get deployment life and I can help someone else get through it. I have experienced different types of deployments too. I have been through long ones and short ones. Scary ones and more mild ones. I get that part of military life and I can offer support to others who might need it.
I am not going to take my husband for granted
I am not going to wish him away. I am going to enjoy the moments together. I will remember how hard it was to live without him. To spend over a year without him in our home.
I am going to try hard to always remember that. But doing so isn’t always easy. When my husband went away for his two-week training with the National Guard, the time apart felt close to impossible. I really had to give myself a talking to. I have gone so much longer without talking to him, I should be able to handle this.
I am more adaptable
Over the years I have found that what works for me during deployments or time apart, might not work for everyone. Staying busy helps me get through a separation, but that isn’t always an easy thing to do. And for some, just trying to do so is a big struggle.
Everyone’s situation is different so not everything is going to work for every military spouse. I have different needs now in my 40s with older kids than when I went through my first deployment in my 20s with babies.
You live and you learn in this life, and things are always changing. The key is to finding what works for you during your current deployment and always trying to find new ways to get through.