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.