Deployment Orders

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It has been so long since I have had time to post in my blog (besides the Father’s Day post) and I miss it! Since my post about the money we received so we could go visit family (Blessings in Surprise) I have been crazy busy preparing to leave, getting Adam’s party set up, dealing with Adam’s appointments and surgery, cleaning and preparing for family to come, and more! Now that I am up in the mountains of West Virginia helping out my in-law’s and relaxing, I have had more time to gather up my thoughts, and now need a place to put them: here.

On June 15th, the day before my husband’s family would arrive, and two days before mine would arrive, Jon came home for lunch and told me he got deployment orders. Just like that. I am not sure what I expected, but even though it was expected that he would go this year, I was still surprised when he told me. For the past three years I have grown complacent and happy with our military life. It will be three years next July that Jon has been in the United States Air Force and has never deployed. There are reasons for that, and I am grateful. So grateful that I could not be upset when I heard the news. I had known it was coming. However, even then I had felt sick to my stomach when he told me. It really does hit you like a ton of bricks.

So with party plans being made, and family on it’s way in a matter of hours, I had to learn to push it out of my mind and not let the news ruin my time with family or at Adam’s party. Now that things are quiet again, I can’t stop thinking about what I want to do while he is away. We had always planned that I would go and stay with his family for at least half of the deployment. But in doing that there is so much do think about. Expenses, length of time, and the pros and cons of being away from home and living with family for a long period of time.

I know there is always the possibility of the deployment being cancelled, as sometimes that can happen. But I like to plan ahead. I figure if I buy tickets now, they will be cheaper then if I wait until the last minute. But what I’m struggling with right now is how long to stay with family, and who to stay with and when. I wrote out some pros and cons of some of my thoughts on the matter.


  • Get family support.
  • Get to be with family we don’t see a lot.
  • Adam will get to know his grandparents and other family.
  • I will get to help with the house. (Husband’s parents are fixing up their new house)
  • I will get to help with the wedding. (Sister-in-law is getting married)


  • No military support or base. (No AF bases in West Virginia)
  • Miss my church and friends. (My in-laws go to a very small church here in WV)
  • Adam will have no kids his age to play with.
  • No cell phone service at the house. (In WV)
  • Not much privacy.
  • Not much to do here. (In WV)

Why I want to go:

  • Don’t want to be alone for the entire time.

So those are some of my thoughts. Of course when I go to visit my family in Florida it will be a little different. More to do there, and I have several friends there too, since I used to live there. What about you? What kinds of things do you do while your husband is deployed? Do you visit family? How do you make it fair for both sides of the family?

This is post 1# in my Deployment One series. I will be writing about our journey through our first deployment, my thoughts, tips, and other things as well. All posts will be listed under keyword Deployment One.”

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  1. I'm more of a say where you are with your big girl panties on kind of person. I did this during our last deployment (also our first) and have made so many friendships and developed a life outside my husband or family. It was a complete growing experience. I also learned so much about myself as a person.
    I think you should stay where you are (at your base) and learn to live alone for a while – its invigorating! Not that its easy to be alone but you can always take vacations to visit family for a little while here and there.

  2. For me, I feel like the support that I get from family and the support I get from the military community are both important, but are so incredibly different.

    From family, I get more logistical support – like having spent 10 days visiting family, not having to cook, getting help with the baby, etc. When family comes to visit me, they help with housework and babysitting, etc.

    The support I get from the military community is much more emotional.

    I experienced this in such an amazing way last weekend. I had it contrasted right before my eyes why it was and is the right decision for me to live close to the base.

    I was out of town surrounded by family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins for my brothers wedding. I think that throughout the whole weekend the thought that went through my mind the most was "wow you guys don't have a clue. You all take so much for granted and you don't even know it!" As much as they try I didn't feel like anyone could really empathize with me or know what I was going through. I even had one of my aunts ask me, "Sooooo, is Russ in a dangerous place?" My reply: "HE'S IN FRICKIN AFGHANISTAN!!!" (although i left out the expletive…)

    I returned home with only an hour to turn around and take off to two military wife functions. The first was our monthly http://www.operationfaithfulsupport.org/ meeting. I walked in and it was like someone whispered "welcome home!" No one had to ask me how I was doing or where my husband was – they already knew, and not only that, they understood. Two women cried and hugged because one had only heard from her husband 3 times in the last 26 days. We talked about how to keep our military marriages strong and committed. From there, I went straight to a battalion wide social event – where again I felt the comradeship of women whose husbands work with mine.

    For me, personally, I don't think it's about "big girl panties" or who is stronger. I don't think that people who chose to go home are any weaker – I don't view it like they can't handle things like I can. In fact, sometimes I think they have a harder time because they are away from the military community.

    I think it's more of a comfort zone thing…for some women, they NEED family. And that's fine. Other women NEED the military community. And that's okay too. There is NO right or wrong answer. Only you and your husband can determine what is best for your family.

    Never let anyone make you feel badly or like less of a military wife if you chose to spend the majority of your deployment with family. It's simply not the case. You do what's best for YOU!!!

  3. ooh one other thing and another factor to consider:

    my deployment experience is somewhat "unique" or might be different from yours in that my husband is part of a brigade and the whole brigade is deployed – that's around 3500 soldiers and most of them have families. So everywhere I go there are other army wives going through the same thing, the same deployment. Our base sponsors free and low-cost activities SPECIFICALLY for us spouses, specifically for our brigade.

    In your situation, you might not have things like that. If your husband isn't a part of a big unit like that, you might be one of just a few military wives at your base going through a deployment. And you might feel MORE lonely in staying put. The support of family may be a factor that more easily outweighs military support depending on your husband's work situation.

  4. My previous comment about 'big girl panties' was not meant about weak or strong. I just meant sometimes the thought of staying alone in a place with out family is hard and returning home seems like the easier choice because it could be easier to cope. However I feel like every spouse should weather a deployment staying put at least once – if not for your big girl panties then to find out what you are made of when there is no one failure (aka family) around to lean on.i
    But no 'big girl panties' or not no military spouses are in no way shape or form weak – after all we love our soldiers and we support them!

  5. I agree with Morgan. As you probably know my husband just got back from our first deployment and I stayed here with the kids. How long will he be gone? my husband was gone 6 months and Girl, let me tell you…it FLYS buy! lol you will move to your family's house get all settled and then have to leave b/c Jon will be home! It was wonderful when I got to go on trips to see family and then they came to me a time or two while he was gone but for the most part it was just my two babies, the two dogs and me. LOVED it! lol there are even days I miss it…but don't miss understand me I'm SO happy to have my husband home…it's just that you learn absolute independence from your husband (that you don't necessarily get when your with family) and you learn complete DEpendance on God and those around you. My vote is stay here!

  6. Ok I should have made myself a little more clear. I will be going to stay with family one way or another because I am in my sister-in-law's wedding right after Christmas. Since it is so close to Christmas, I figured I might as well spend Christmas with my family so I don't have to be alone for it. On top of that I can't spend that much time with my husband's family without spending some time with my family. It's just now fair and there will be hurt feelings. So my thing is how long to spend with each since I have to go anyways. Do I just stay awhile, or spend the minimum. Keep in mind I only get to see family once or twice a year if that. So that is one of the reasons I want to go too. Also, I have friends here who are supportive and such, but there is a lot of drama too. Part of me wants to get away from all that. As far as putting on my "big girl panties" I usually am not like that. I do not handle stress well, and have at times been known to have panic attacks because of it. I think i am handling this quite well though, and know that I will do fine either way. As far as family not understanding, I do get that a lot. My family doesn't have any military background, but Jon's dad was in the army four years and his mom went through deployments so she knows what it's like. As far as how long it is, my husband does not want me to say online. Thanks for the comments ladies, I appreciate it!

  7. Again I didn't mean big girl panties in the usual since of the term.

    If you are planning on staying with family either way and you mentioned that you do not see them often I would split the time as equally as possible. If you prefer not to spend as much time with one side of the family then don't. No one can get mad at you for doing what is right for you.

    Deployments are hard enough, as you will find out, you should truly worry about 2 people – yourself and your husband.

  8. I think this is such a personal decision. I've done both. I guess I should say, I've stayed put on 2 month long TDY's, in a foreign country, by myself, with a baby. My husband is deployed now for 6 months and I chose to pack up myself, my 2 dogs, and my 2 year old and come back to the States for pretty much the entire time he's gone. Oh, and I'm pregnant. The whole "big girl panties" mentality kind of annoys me. I think you can grow as a person and learn from a deployment whether you're "toughing it out" by staying put, or "toughing it out" by going to live with family. Either way is tough.

    Living with my family hasn't been all roses and puppies, that's for sure. There's most definitely an adjustment period and if you're not the type of person to say what's on your mind to make things better, it could be miserable. I also think that when you have a child, it is COMPLETELY different than if you're just staying put by yourself, without a little one to care for. Part of the reason I chose to come home was so my daughter could build a relationship with her grandparents. I wanted to give them a chance to get to know her and her to know them, and I also wanted help with her, especially since I am pregnant with #2. And as I said before, I've had plenty of time to "rough it" by myself during my husbands TDY's. I don't mind that either, and at times, I miss "home" terribly. But here, with my parents help, I'm able to hang out with friends I haven't gotten to see in YEARS quite often, and go to movies and go out to dinner weekly with a group of old friends and go on weekend trips, all without paying a babysitter $10/hr. I think sometimes people without kids don't understand how much work it is to care for a young child by yourself for months on end. I know the girls in my squadron that don't have kids have had a blast staying in Europe and traveling all over the place and doing fun stuff, and if I didn't have a child, I would have loved to join them. But when you add a child(ren) to the mix, things DRASTICALLY change.

    Our parents live about 3 hours apart. I live with my parents and I visit my husbands family once or twice a month and they've come here twice. It's not split evenly by any means, but my parents have a huge house where my daughter and I each have our own rooms and bathrooms, and at my in-laws, my daughter is stuck in a pack n play in a bathroom, so it's just more logical for us to stay with my parents. I'm going on a girl's trip to Vegas in July though, and I'll be taking my daughter to stay with my in-laws so they get to spend more time with her.

    You just have to decide what's right for you. I've been able to get support from my military friends (I would say 90% of them came back to the States at least for a couple months) and I've had lots of support from old friends and my family also. But I have many friends from my past that still live in this area. I should also mention we're stationed in Italy right now, and I don't know when else I'll get the chance to come back to the States for an extended period of time, completely guilt free because I'm not leaving my husband home by himself. Also, my husband wanted me to come back to the States and not stay in Italy by myself (with a 2 year old and pregnant)for 6 months, so that also played in to our decision.

    Each choice has it's benefits and it's disadvantages and you as a family need to decide what would work best for you. If a short visit home would be best, then that's great, but don't feel guilty or like less of a military spouse if you choose to go home for an extended period of time. You'll grow as a parent and as a person either way.

  9. Morgan, I am totally not offended by what you said and I totally get what you are trying to say, so now worries. I appreciate the advice!

    Monica, Thanks so much for your advice I really appreciate it! There are definitely a lot of things to think about, and lot I couldn't put on here because everyone I know reads it. Thanks for the advice!

    Mandi, Thanks so much!

  10. during joel's first deployment after bella was born (she was 7 weeks, he was gone for 3 months) i decided to spend almost the entire time visiting family and, while i enjoyed my time, i kind of regret leaving home the whole time. when we lived in hawaii, he left several times for different things, and i never got the chance to go stay with family. i was almost 5,000 miles from home and knew practically no one, but staying there the whole time during his tdy's made me stronger and more confident. it wasn't the first time i had lived on my own, but being married and being on your own for a time is a new scenario. it also made the relationships i had much stronger and meaningful.

    this deployment, i have stayed here (i have gone home for a week, and i will again, and we have gone on several trips to different places for a night or two, but mostly stayed home) and i think, especially for bella, it has been more beneficial this way. i think uprooting a toddler and changing their environment often while they are dealing with wondering why their daddy is gone all of a sudden can be traumatizing on even the most well adjusted kid (my opinion), and bella isn't phased by much, but when we are gone from home for a long time, she has a hard time readjusting when we get back. but a week here or there will definitely help give you something to look forward to and will help speed things along.

    but i also agree with monica. it's a personal decision that only you can decide. but if you make the decisions taking in what's best for your family and for you, then you can't go wrong.

  11. Without facing it at this very moment, I could say I would choose to stay in my own home. But I also know that it's totally a personal choice.

    The main thing is, lots of hugs and prayers. I hope time time will fly for your both.

  12. I did not realize that you got orders. Its never easier to hear those words, even if your "expecting" them.
    We have been through 3 deployments and being in the reserves, we have not ever had the option of living on base. I often wonder what it would be like…but then in the long run, I am so grateful to live so close to both of our families. I simply would not know what I would do without them being so close.
    Not living close to a base though, it is difficult not having people who "get it" (understand what it is like to have a deployed spouse)
    There are pros and cons to both situations…but the great thing is…deployment is temporary and whatever you decide (stay at home or stay with family), if its not working then you can change it.
    again, sorry about the news…I will be praying for you guys

  13. Hey Kathryn. I finally got around to reading this post, but I thought I could chime in a little. When Curtis deploys I make one to two trips to visit friends and/or family. When I go anywhere, however, it's usually not much longer than a week. I've not been able to visit with Curtis' family since they were living overseas and that's so expensive. But I've visited with my family for Thanksgiving two years in a row. I've also done weekend trips to see other family and my friend out in Tennessee. In the end I spend the majority of my time at home in my regular routine (primarily because I had school and work during most of our deployments).

    I have this friend, though, who put all their things in storage during her husband's latest deployment (since they were in base housing they were able to get out of it). She spent half the deployment with her family, and half with his. So the entire time he was deployed they weren't using any of his BAH for housing, so they were actually able to pay off all of their debt (also because they were getting so much extra money during the deployment, too).

  14. My hubs deployed not too long ago (for a year) and I left Germany (with my baby) in order to split my time between my parents (TN) and my in-laws (WV). I just thought it was so cool that we might both in WV! They are in the Charleston area. If you end up living in that area, it would be really fun to have a playdate!

    If you want to know exactly how I chose to split up my time between families (to be fair and everything), shoot me an email and I'll tell you 🙂

    God Bless Kathryn. I know He will lead you to the right decision! And, if you need a military wife/Christian girlfriend in WV, please let me know!

  15. My husband had orders to leave this coming friday (the 26th). well today (the 19th) they were cancelled! We had moved everything to NY where his parents are (we’re stationed in NC) and I was going to live in NY. Everything moved, cancelled, thousands of dollars spent just to come up cancelled! I am happy because I get to have my husband but we planned everything out. I’m looking at is as a blessing in disguise. God has bigger plans for us and maybe he knew something we didn’t. It just sucks that we spent so much heartache, time, money, and effort into it just for them to say “oh, nevermind”. I am happy though. I stayed in NY for a week without him while he went back to NC to finish getting things ready and I regretted coming. I love my inlaws but I just wanted to be home with family and familiarization. Family is great but I was out of my element. My advice, stick with what you know and what you are comfortable with. Deployment is change enough. Good luck!

    1. Hi Kristin,
      Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so sorry that you had to go through that emotional roller coaster, I cannot even imagine. I wrote this post last year before my husband deployed and during is deployment I decided to stay with my in-law’s for a month. I agree with you, it was nice to visit family, but a shorter period of time is easier and less hassle. Our next deployment, I already decided that I will be staying here for most of the time and a lot less traveling. I agree. Deployment is change enough! Thanks again for commenting and I hope that you enjoy your time with your husband!

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