The time has come yet again…deployment. That word invokes a number of emotions in me, all mixing together to make my stomach queasy. Just writing this is making me feel uncomfortable because I know it’s right around the corner. I hate this part.
We Need To Talk….
This will be Danny’s fourth deployment since we have been together. They have truly become a normal part of life for us. I have even figured out his “tell” when he has gotten orders; he always says “We need to talk about something and I don’t want you to get upset.” He is super smooth, right? I don’t even ask what it could be anymore, I just ask “When?” That’s the most important piece of information in my little world at that exact moment. I need to know how much time we have together before he gets on a plane.
I learned after his first deployment that I can give myself just a few minutes to embrace that panicky feeling and cry a little. Just a few minutes. Then I start planning. I believe that when we are faced with this situation, our mutual goal has to be making every moment count. Our weekends are even more valuable than usual. I work harder to leave all grading at school so that I am not bringing work home. We leave the television off more so that we can hang out and play with Viv. Our little family adventures to the aquarium or zoo hold just a little bit more importance because it is still all of us. For this deployment, my phone has become overloaded with pictures of Danny and Viv together.
Here’s the thing, deployments suck. It’s as easy as that. I have never met a single person that smiles at that wretched word and says “Oh yeah, we love them. Yay deployments!” However, I now know many people that simply shrug their shoulders and say “It happens and we make the best of it.” I am incredibly grateful and proud that I now count myself among their numbers. I know that a life of uncertainty is what I “signed up for” (I actually hate when people say that) so it is up to me to make the absolute best of these times.
This is the worst part, right before, and when, he leaves. I know there will be that empty feeling. I know that I will ugly cry under the covers in bed. I know my breath will catch in my throat the first few times Vivienne yells “Daddy!” and runs through the house trying to find him. I know all of this is inevitable, but I will not fight it or try to stop it. I give myself those moments of sadness; just like giving myself those first few minutes when he gets the news. Being strong does not mean not crying and pretending like you aren’t scared. Being strong is embracing the situation and figuring out how to make it work. This sadness WILL fade, it will silently move to the back of my mind and find a little space that I am perfectly okay with. I know that as an utter certainty.
Baby We Got This
Creating a routine is the best advice I could ever give to someone preparing for deployment. Routine keeps us moving forward and gives us something to look forward to every day. Going out with friends, scheduling play dates, asking anyone and everyone to come stay for a weekend (I redid the guest room, y’all!), these things make it go by faster as well as easier. Plan things like your life depends on it, make lists, check little boxes. Make sure that you are finding reasons to have a smile on your face. It will be over before you know it and you will find yourself telling someone else “It happens and we make the best of it.”