It’s always a shock when my husband tells me he has to deploy. I go through various emotions coping with deployment separation:
I cry and ask if the military can send someone else. (No.) I panic and think I can’t do it all on my own.
photo credit: Kristen Wong
After that comes acceptance, but it’s generally a nervous acceptance. I still doubt myself. I still worry.
But at the same time, I always try to look on the bright side of things because if I don’t, I know I’ll completely break down.
Coping with deployment separation.
I remember the good parts of when he’s gone. I remember why I’m able to cope.
I remember that I can do this.
Here is what helps to remember…
1. I get the remote.
I don’t have to watch bizarre movies like the one where a dude shouts, “This is Sparta!” I don’t have to endure Clint Eastwood movies–he loves Heartbreak Ridge, and it’s okay, but I can’t watch it over and over.
He seems to sense when it’s on TV and switches over to the channel. (And he doesn’t appreciate it when I quote Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire and go, “I thought I saw Clint Eastwood over there, it would make my day, he’s such a studmuffin!”)
2. I don’t have to cook.
My husband likes a meal when he gets home from work and I get it: I would too. But I hate to cook. I only do it because he enjoys it. When he’s gone, the kids and I have a lot of pancakes.
Sandwiches. TV dinners. It’s fantastic because I don’t have to stress and wonder what I’ll be making that evening.
“Sandwiches for all!” is what is generally on the menu.
3. I have the bed to myself.
I love to stretch out. I don’t know how couples can cuddle the entire night. I need my space. I love to rest my head on one side of the bed and have my feet on the other.
4. I can plan outings without having to check with his schedule too.
If I want to take the kids somewhere over the weekend, I don’t have to see if my husband is able to go as well. Sometimes work would keep him busy over weekends and he couldn’t go, but he’d want to go, so I’d re-schedule.
When he’s away, we can do whatever. Whenever.
5. It forces me to do things on my own.
Sometimes I feel I depend too much on him to put things together and fix my car. When he’s gone, I realize I’m capable of more than I think and it feels pretty darn good.
6. The toilet seat always stays down.
After having kids, my bladder was never the same. So I have to go in the middle of the night. I’m half asleep and don’t pay attention to the toilet.
I sort of trudge over, sit down and…if the toilet seat is up, I fall in, legs stretched in the air.
Curses leave my lips.
I’ll stomp back to bed, and sometimes my husband will go, “What happened?” and I’ll say, “You left the seat up again.” But most of the time he’s already gone back to sleep by that point.
7. I get to do what I want at night.
After the kids go to bed, I can party. Well. By party, it means I can put on The Real Housewives and not have to hear my husband poke fun at it.
I’m able to read and not have to hear, “You’d rather read than talk to me?”
I can stuff my face with chocolate and not endure, “Didn’t you say you were cutting back?” or, “Can I have a bite?”
8. I get to miss him.
We’ve been married for fifteen years. Sometimes it’s easy to take the other person for granted. It’s simple to start behaving like a roommates and not a couple.
But when he goes, we get to appreciate one another. He realizes he misses being around me. I realize the same.
I get to feel the butterflies again when he returns. My stomach flutters with excitement. I actually get out of my sweatpants and into a dress.
And when I see him and we smile at each other?
Yeah, it always makes the deployment worth it.
The smile means that we made it once again. The smile means we know we’ll always be there for one another. The smile means he’s home safe.
Amber Myers is a proud military wife and mother to two kids who drive her to eat lots of chocolate. She blogs over at Airing My Laundry. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.