Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"D" is for Deployment

When trying to come up with a subject for the letter "D" for the A-Z Blogging Challenge, I had a little trouble.  There wasn't anything that readily came to mind relating to "D" when it came to my writing (besides "dialogue," and yelling, "Damn computer!" at my laptop when Word freezes up on me doesn't count), so I thought I'd make this a little more personal.

Deployments.

Hubs and I knew going into this life that they would come up periodically, and they have been a regular occurrence for us over the past four years or so, and will be in the future.  Just like going on business trips, tackling endless spreadsheets, spending hours on your feet, or dealing with irate customers might be par for the course for your job, it is the same for us.  It's expected, and it's something we signed up for.

That doesn't make it any easier, though.  Each time my husband deploys, he takes a little bit of my heart with him, though I have noticed that it takes less time to bounce back after each time he leaves.  The first few weeks are usually the hardest because your memories are so strong and they're still so enmeshed in your daily routine, but as time goes on, you fall into a rhythm that makes your days go by more smoothly.  Nothing feels completely "normal," but you have to accept that.  In some ways, I think it's harder for those who remain home; we have reminders all around us of who is absent (the empty side of the bed, the vacant chair where they sit for dinner, etc).  I know it's hard for them as well and they are incredibly busy doing what they need to wherever they are, and that helps distract from the loneliness.

The key is to stay busy yourself.  Work, seeing friends, doing housey things, projects, pets...you need to do things that take up time and make you happy.  And for God's sake, get your ass out of the house!  You can't just sit at home and mope.  You do find yourself looking forward to the little communications you can have with your loved one.  Phone calls are typically short and the connection sounds like you're both using something Alexander Graham Bell had on his workbench, but at least you get to hear each other and chat for a few.

Internet is okay - again, the connections are awful, so video chat is hard to do unless you can both stomach looking like a stop-motion animation movie, but instant messenger makes a good substitute, as does good old-fashioned email.  Old-fashioned email.  Ha.  Just the fact that we can communicate every other day makes me thankful for what we do have, whether it works or not.  I have a hard time imagining how things were in the WWII era and earlier when everything was done by hand, and how difficult not hearing from each other for weeks, months, or even at all must have been for the families.

I try to send care packages out at least once a month, which are always appreciated, and makes me feel happy that I get to send him something tangible that I touched.  It's sappy, but whatever. It makes me happy.

There is one big plus that comes out of my husband being gone - I'm much more productive with my writing when he's not around to distract me, and all I have to worry about is myself and the cats.  When he's home, I guiltily miss my long, uninterrupted stretches of writing time, but the trade-off is worth it; I'd much rather have him home safe and sound.  Another positive is that it makes you appreciate the one you love so much more, and the time you have with them as well.



p.s. No, that's not us in the picture.  Google stock photo, but the emotion is there, and accurate.  :-D

xoxo Sarah

22 comments:

  1. I was a military brat, so my father was deployed often. It sucks!

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  2. One of those jobs that I'm very thankful someone does it, but it could never be me.

    Best to you and yours, and thank your husband for me.

    Matt Conlon dot com
    Matt's Brew Log

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  3. Deployments are tough. You seem very well grounded and like you know what's important though!

    India Drummond

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  4. Imagine my delight when I stumbled onto your blog from the A to Z challenge enrollment form! I'm a writer and my 17 year old son is signing up for the Army as we speak.

    It was great (meaning heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time) to read this post on deployments, as I'm to face them with my son next year.

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  5. We were never a military family, but my son chose the Marines, and it broke my heart (literally) every time he left from leave. It also gave me an intimate appreciation of what it is like to be in a miliary family - and I thank God there are folks who do this.

    Thank you for his service - and for your sacrifice.

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  6. @Alex: It definitely sucks, but it comes with the territory. A lot of military brats enjoyed living in different parts of the country or even the world...it's such a unique experience.

    @Matt: Thank you so much! I will pass the word on. :-)

    @India: Thank you! I try my best to keep things in perspective, but it's hard at times.

    @Jacee: I'm glad you're enjoying it so far! I'm glad we have brave people like your son to continue on a great tradition, and I wish him the best of luck. There are tons of websites and blogs to reach other military families, be they parents or spouses, so I know you'll have the support you need next year when the time comes. I'll check your blog out in just a minute, and thank you for the follow. :-)

    @Elaine: I can understand that. It's so tough when they leave, but it's so amazing when they come back. :-)

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  7. Great topic and you've written it well. I don't have personal experience with deployment. My stepdad was in the national guard but he retired years ago. I do have a character who is deployed for a while in the middle of my mutant adult book 1. It's not the main character, but his boyfriend. It was interesting trying to show that in a bit of futuristic setting and hope I do it well if the novel ever gets published. Good post.

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  8. Thank you, Dawn! I'd imagine even in a futuristic setting, deployments would be much the same emotionally, if not physically. :-)

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  9. I just found you through the A-Z challenge and I'm glad I did.

    My father was in the military, and now I have a brother-in-law and a nephew in the military. Deployment is hard on everyone. Kudos to you for being able to put a good spin on it (more writing time)!

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  10. Thank you for the follow, CR! I'll be checking your blog out shortly as well. Deployment is such a tough thing that we have to find any positive thing we can in it...the whole lemons into lemonade thing. :-)

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  11. Lovely post! Glad you have things to occupy you while hubby's away and that the reunions are worth the wait. :O)

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  12. It sounds like a tough life, but it seems you guys are doing your best to cope and to work around. You should both be very proud even through the hard times :)

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  13. Many of my family members are/were enlisted. Army. Marines. Air Force. It never really affected me directly but I saw what their spouses/ parents/ kids went through during deployments. Not everyone can be a military wife! It takes a special kind of person and from your post I can see that you definitely are special! Best Wishes!

    Dafeenah

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  14. I can't imagine what this is like for you and all the families of soldiers everywhere. I, too, thank them all for protecting and serving their countries in all the ways they help. My father was out of the service before I came along, so I missed that experience. Love your word, Hubs.

    Bryan ~ SF Daddy

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  15. I like your blog template. The ocean background didn't load for a few minutes so it was just blue. Kind of restful and made me feel like reading more.

    I'm behind on the A to Z. Will have to do a catch up post today. I don't really feel like writing. I'd rather take paper and pens, go downtown (in my little town) get a latte and sit at the big window where I can see both the main street going through town and the lake, if I turn my head. It's my spot to get away and jot down ideas.

    Laura
    http://wordgrrls.com - My blog isn't on Blogger.

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  16. Sarah, you could at least have a link back to here on your domain. I went to have a look at your website but it's all just ads for GoDaddy. Kind of a shame to let them benefit from your domain and not yourself.

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  17. Found you from Alex and the a-z challenge. I can only imagine what it must be like for you and your hubby. Thanks to both of you.
    Karen

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  18. Wow, so many nice comments came in overnight!

    @Madeleine: Yes, it's tough, but the reunions make it worth it.

    @Ellen: Thank you! We just deal with it the best we can. It's good to have a support network.

    @Dafeenah: Thank you to your family for their service. It can be hard, but we make the best of it.

    @Bryan: Thank you for your kind words! My father was out of the service before I came along as well so I didn't get the "military brat" experience, either. I can't say I would have liked it as a kid, though.

    @Laura: Thank you for checking my blog out! And I never thought to just link back here on the domain...this blog itself is very recent, so I'll have to poke around and figure out how to do that. I appreciate the awesome suggestion. :-)

    @Karen: Thank you for a lovely comment. I'm glad you're enjoying the blog!

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  19. I understand how hard it can be!! But remember to be in constant contact with your hubs!! It is important for a relation!!

    I understand how hard your guys need to work to ensure your relationship is intact because military life is that way!! Take care!!!


    with warm regards
    http://becomingprince.blogspot.com

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  20. Thank you for a great comment! I agree that communication helps a lot, whether it's an email or a phone call. It's good for everyone to stay in touch. :-)

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