Saturday, July 27, 2013

Message From A Momma

Hello everyone! So I had a great point brought up to me the other day by my mother. We were discussing my blog and what I should write about. She brought up a wonderful point. A lot of us just assume that our parents and our spouses parents know what is going on, but do they really? Stop and consider it. Is this their first time having a child or child-in-law deployed? We get lots of info from our spouse's units when they are getting ready to leave. Sometimes I think we forget that the others around us, including friends and other relatives, don't get that info unless we pass it along to them. I know when my hubby deployed the first time I didn't even stop to think about what other people might be feeling or thinking. I was all wrapped up in my pain and didn't realize that my mother was apparently totally scared and confused about how he was living over there. Some of the things she wanted to know about were so simple. Maybe we as spouses should focus on sitting down and talking about their lives in the sandbox more often. Give details about their living conditions and the areas around them. Show pictures if you have any. Encourage your spouse to send them pictures of his activities and day to day life as well. Besides, I think having something to focus on besides how much we miss them can't do any harm. =)

One of the things that my mom said was that she was surprised to find out was that it isn't just desert. Afghanistan has several different climate regions. A large portion of where we are sending guys is desert but they also have forests and snow caps. There are gorgeous rivers and valleys. In my mom's mind he was going off to ride camels and run through sand dunes like some weird modern version of Aladdin. I'm sure somewhere in the country they do that but that was way beyond what my soldier was doing. I doubt very many of our men and women in the service are actually doing that. I'm not just talking about Afghanistan either. This goes for any place your spouse could be deployed. If the family and friends aren't familiar with the area it might be nice to share what you know of the place. This may seem like a totally insignificant detail but sometimes it's just encouraging to know. Maybe show them on a map. Look at pictures together on the internet and have your spouse send some photos home if he can.

This leads right into another thing my mom wanted to know about. There living conditions. For some reason she had it in her head that they were living out of their bags, never getting to showers, and eating nothing but MREs. I never thought to explain the whole thing to her so she never really got the truth until he got home. Things like their sleeping quarters and DEFAC may seem totally unimportant to us but it can really help to reassure others that their soldiers are safe and taken care of. Make sure to pass on details of their every day life if your spouse isn't being able to talk to his family a lot. Imagine how it would be (or is) for you to not know what is going on every day. They might be feeling the same thing. Even telling them that nothing happened and he spent the entire day staring at a wall is better than wondering what he is up to and if he is any danger.

So my main point is stop. Take a second to look at the people around you and wonder what they are wondering. This might be the time to sit down and start talking. Leave a comment with some of the topics you ended up discussing.

Keep L i/o ving =)

P.S.  Always keep OPSEC in mind when discussing the details of your spouses deployment! Remember this is for your soldier's safety as well as everyone he works with. I encourage people to pass on most of the information in person if that is possible.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bye-bye, Baby, Bye-bye

Deployment once again. I've discovered many things through the past several days since my main man left. The first being that the whole saying goodbye thing does NOT get any easier with experience. It helped to have an idea of how things were going to work. I held it together a little longer than last time but the tears were inevitable. It doesn't matter how many times you do it, watching your husband leave and knowing he won't be back for months breaks your heart all over again. Nothing can truly prepare you for the sight of your love climbing onto those buses and waving goodbye. Nothing can stop your heart from squeezing extra tight when you look around and see all the families gathered in little groups, hugging each other for the last time. There is just something bitter sweet about it all. Another thing is that there is a certain comfort in living on post when your husband is gone. Now I'm not staying here, I'm actually moving back with my parents in a few days, and I didn't stay last deployment either. However, hanging out for the past week and a half has given me a little peak into it. I went to the post office the other day to mail off my first care package full of goodies to my man. While there, several other woman came and went. They gathered up arm loads of flat rate boxes or stood in line to mail one off. I wasn't alone. For a second I felt overwhelmed with respect and love for these strangers because I knew what they were going through. I felt a comradery with these women that I couldn't have with anyone else. 

There is a certain understanding that can only come from someone who is going through or has gone through a deployment. There are lots of people who are sympathetic and caring. They hug you. They wish you the best. They tell you their heart goes out to you. We love them and we appreciate them but they can't replace the people who look us in the eye and just know. They can't replace the tears shared or the times on our knees, praying together. They can't understand the pounding of our hearts when our phone rings and it's our loved one's voice on the other end. They can't feel the feelings of comfort as you fall asleep in the glow of your computer that sits forever signed into Skype. We love them, they love us. We need them but we also need our fellow spouses. Maybe next time I will stay on post. I feel like it is a whole different experience.

*written a few days later*

Finally made it to my parents house. Boy what a trip. It's good to be back in my home town not to mention on a farm. There is going to be PLENTY to keep me busy! My hubby is now at his FOB and has started to settle in. That right there makes things easier. I find the first few weeks of a deployment the hardest. One, you are trying to acclimate to them being gone. Two, they are traveling and can't tell you exactly where they are going so you are never quite sure where in the world they are. I don't know if that bothers other people but it is unnerving to me. Which leads into three, you hear from them very scattered and for only short amounts of time. They don't always have access to a phone or the internet. When they do it is normally borrowed so they only get a few min. Not to mention their schedule is all over the place. Once they finally arrive where they are supposed to be they get a set schedule (hopefully) and they normally get a chance to set up their internet. Cue the Skype dates! =)
So now that he has been gone for almost 3 weeks I feel like things are starting to get a little more relaxed. It will be more so once we get him some internet that actually works hahaha. Honestly, I just feel blessed that we have the ability to use the internet over there now. So many people never had that chance with their spouses. It was letters or nothing. I'm not sure I would be able to stand that. We are truly lucky to have the technology that we have these days. Deployments will never stop sucking but little things like Skype make it just a little more bearable.

For all my fellow spouses whose loved ones are gone, keep your chins up. My prayers are with you all.

Keep L i/o ving!