I had planned to wait until August to start writing this, but the military has been especially on my mind as of late with J’s deployment rapidly approaching. From here on out, each Friday I’ll be writing a post focusing on my experiences as a Navy spouse. I’m by no means an expert on military life, but I can tell you how it is from my perspective.
I’m calling it “Red Friday” after the movement across the United States to have people wear red on Fridays to show their support for the troops. I’ll post of picture of my Red Friday outfit just for kicks (I need to add some more red to my wardrobe!), and hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with it each week. So here goes nothing…
The Stennis deploys next week, and I’ve found myself increasingly apprehensive these past few days. Actually our whole household has been feeling the tension – pets and child included. This isn’t our first deployment – we just went through J’s year unaccompanied, plus the stint in Bahrain in the middle – so I should be prepared. Deployments never get easier, and they never become routine, but I’ve felt uneasy about this one.
In fact, I’m terrified.
Maybe it’s the idea of having a baby while he’s gone. Maybe it’s being across the country from the majority of my family and friends.
Honestly I think what’s getting to me is that we’ll finally feel that emptiness that most families feel when their husbands/wives/mothers/fathers deploy. Before we moved to Washington, J had never lived with us full-time. When I was pregnant with Little J, J lived in Norfolk, and we saw each other as often as possible, but he still lived in another state. After his time in Norfolk was done, he went to Greece/Bahrain, and we didn’t see him for nine months. He stayed with us multiple times for several weeks, but we still lived apart.
Now we’ve spent six months living together as a family. Yes, there were (far too) frequent work-ups on the ship and long work hours when they were in port, but we’ve fallen into a routine that includes him in our day-to-day. We depend on him in our day-to-day. Little J expects him to be here when he wakes up or to see him later in the day, and so do I. Before deployment was a nasty word, and not seeing J for long periods of time was incredibly difficult, but our day-to-day was still the same. It hurt, and we missed him, but it didn’t shift our world like it will this time. This time it changes everything.
When a spouse asks how to get through a deployment, the number one answer from other spouses is usually, “Stay busy.” One idea that was proposed at the Stennis’s pre-deployment brief last month was to make a list of deployment goals. An upside of a deployment goals list is if – or rather when – one of those endless, depressing days comes up, I won’t have to struggle to think of something to do to get my mind off the deployment. I’ll have a nice, long list of somethings already thought out, and all I’ll have to do is pick one.
My list is still a work in progress, and I imagine it will continue to be throughout the deployment, but you can read it here.