I am by far an expert in military life. I still feel SO new to it in my three short years, yet I am more experienced than other wives who have been in for 12+ years and never had their husband deploy. It has been a little over a month since my husband returned from Afghanistan and I finally feel like I am coming down off the cloud of post-deployment excitement! It is getting back to normal, we are getting back into a house of two, and I am ready to sit down to reflect a little on what worked and what didn’t.
1. Do not isolate.
So I will admit, as soon as someone said something slightly insensitive to me I would stop talking to them for a bit during deployment. It becomes a lonely place after a while because some people think they know exactly what to say: when they have no clue. It is true, and I do not believe that anyone but your husband will be able to soothe your woes of being apart, but giving others a break is important. It was a hard lesson to figure out people just will never “get” what it feels like to be in my shoes, but it is pretty lonely without friendship. Forgive them, talk to them; you need them.
2. It’s ok to like having the bed to yourself.
I always struggled when I would find myself liking parts of deployment, like having the bed to myself. Guilt that I had a nice pillow, or you know just being safe and not in a dangerous part of the world. I would feel guilty that I could buy all my favorite foods with no consideration for anyone else. I missed my husband so much, and would rather eat all the gross things he likes me to buy, and fight for extra bed space
Guilt is natural, but finding ways to enjoy the little things of deployment will help ease up on it. Soon your snoring husband will return to take over the bed, and you will love it! (just kidding I still rock the diagonal sleeping position, poor guy.)
3. Find a goal.
So the last deployment it was my first half marathon, and a bucket list to make sure I was relaxing/taking care of myself. This time I was not working full-time, so I had an overly ambitious bucket list. I didn’t find I completed everything, but I traveled a bunch, and that was so special. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to go to Disney TWO times. It will never happen again unless you know I win the lottery.
I think finding a few things like a fitness goal, house project, or traveling is important during deployment. You will learn more about yourself, feel independent, and accomplished.
4. Rule of Deployment: What will go wrong, will always go wrong.
So, I do not know how to explain how not good I am at staying calm under stress. I am a ball of worry and over-analyze the crap out of things out of my control. I have gotten much much better, but mainly because Mr. Show me is now home and well he is the reason I stay calm. Each deployment was different, and the first was much harder on me on the separation aspect. Things went wrong; things went terribly wrong, horrible health issues arose, injuries happened, but I just learned to breathe and keep a focus on the positive side.
Being long distance friends a while before dating I know we are excellent communicators. We could talk to each other for 6 hours straight on the phone. I wish I were joking, but I was unemployed out of college, and I had time to talk Kidding. We just clicked and even when communication had its learning curves for us- – we still worked through them.
Communication will seem boring to tell him about the weather, or what you ate for the day but it could be just what he needs to hear about how you are ok- and take his mind of his not so great circumstances.
For me, unless I felt completely helpless and terrible, I put on a smile and only talked positives. I didn’t want him to worry about what I knew was just trivial things. I am not saying this is for everyone; I know many women who ask their husband for full disclosure and do the same. I just never felt the need to tell him about things that could cause him to worry about me. I just wanted him to focus on staying safe and focused on his job.
Last note, I wish I could explain the feeling of waiting for a long deployment to be over so you can run into your husband’s arms. Being a military wife is getting to refresh that honeymoon feeling over and over! Although it has its sacrifices that moment of seeing him walk out is my favorite.
Thank you so much for hanging out with me during this past deployment <3 All of you made it so much more bearable. I always look forward to your kind words, comments, and emails.
To all the wives/ partners/girlfriends/Fiancés/family members of someone deployed, or someone who is about to deploy, I am sending positive thoughts to you that they come home soon and safely. Sending love and thanks to you for all that you both do. <3 So until homecoming, keep thinking about the amazing feeling of when they come home. There really is nothing like it….