The dreaded D-word
"Oh deployment. How I hate you."
I'm sure those words have come out of many of our mouths from the moment our spouses announce they are leaving until the day before they arrive back home (if you are lucky enough to know when within a few days notice) and deployments definitely cause a lot of heartache. From missed phone calls, to fights, to uncertain dates, extentions, the list could go on for years.
However! There is hope for us. Although a lot of people view deployment as very negative (which it is for the most part for the spouse staying home) but there are some benefits to having our spouses gone... for a while. And of course, I'll leave some helpful tips for those who are new to the D-word.
#1) You are alone! Yes, it sucks to be alone and you miss his smell, touch, kiss, and just his presence in the house. But, you are able to go and come as you please (unless you have kids, but still!) and sometimes it's good to have some time to yourself to decide what is best for you.
This sounds harsh, but trust me, you can pick up so many new things and learn new things that can benefit you. I completed my junior year of college while my husband was deployed and luckily for that, it kept me busy enough to make time go by a little faster.
#2) Despite being away from each other, you begin to treasure each other more the longer you are apart. When the time comes and you are reunited again, the level on the appreciation meter goes way up and you treasure every moment together even more than before. You might even get a few bouquets of flowers here and there. :)
For example, my husband bought me flowers, a teddy bear, and chocolate for my birthday while he was deployed and he got us a romantic suite in the mountains after he came home to propose to me. So sweet, isn't it?
#3) Try not to fight. It's easy to fight while away from each other and the distance can definitely make things stressful. Especially since he might not be able to call or email when you really need him to.
Me and my husband definitely fought while he was gone. It's normal to fight while he's deployed but try to do it less often. It will be less stress on both of you and it will prevent bad feelings for when he's finally home.
#4) Care packages and letters. They are what they LOVE and cherish. Even if you are used to getting phone calls and emails (no matter the frequency) still write him some letters. They mean more and really come from the heart, even if he doesn't write back don't take it personally. Care packages are amazing for them. Just make sure that you ask them what they really need and send it on over (of course, with a little flavor from home!)
I was awful at this. Being in school full time and working part time while doing extra curriculars left me no time to do things like that. I think I sent him one care package while he was gone and he always begged me for letters but never sent any. Obviously, a big fail on my part but don't be like me and make sure you send tons of stuff, including letters!
#5) Most importantly, try not to count down. I know it's tough but seeing those big huge numbers can be a bit overwhelming. At least in the beginning. By all means, if you are in the last few weeks, count down! Get excited! Pick out a dress! But, if you have 203 days to go, I wouldn't try and countdown everyday.
I really did well with this. I rarely ever kept track of how many days I had left. I just counted by months. It didn't seem too overwhelming for me but I understand some people get relief out of counting down to something, even if it's far away :)
#6) Something you also tend to do while your spouse is deployed is you learn to do things for yourself that your spouse would normally do (especially if this is your first deployment and you live with them) such as changing a light bulb, taking trash out, changing the oil in your car, dealing with military paperwork, and all kinds of other things. Even though it sucks, you are gaining some experience and then you won't have to rely on your husband so much when he does return, which can be a big relief for him when he's trying to relax from his trip!
I learned how to unclog a toilet when my husband left for Afghan not too long ago. Although I live with my mother at the moment, I continue to learn new things that I wouldn't have normally learned if he had been around. However, I'm still working on getting out of snow banks in my car. It's a work in progress
So, I hope these helped. I'm not saying I'm an expert on deployed or a guru on the military life but I figured this all out on my own while my husband was deployed so I figured my experiences would help those out who have any concerns about their current or up coming deployments. Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions, I'd be more than happy to answer them (no matter how stupid they sound)!