The One Year Tour
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Two days after we got home from our second two-week hospital visit with my daughter, we received the news: my husband would be deploying. He wouldn’t be leaving for a long while yet, and it shouldn’t have been that shocking, but the timing was just terrible.
We were exhausted; emotionally, mentally, and physically and receiving the news at that time was just not good. But hey, we are a military family right? We are supposed to be able to adapt and survive. And adapt we did.
My mind was constantly ticking. It didn’t want to stop for silly things like sleep. That was when I thought of it, actually that’s when I think of most of my ideas… The plot thickened in my head until I finally drifted off to sleep, it wasn’t until the next day that I was able to tell my husband my idea.
My husband has been asking me for years. He has been wanting to go on a one year tour so that we could move. We have been here almost 6 years and it’s our first and only duty station so far. We both have the itch – the itch to travel, to see new places and faces, but the military has never once moved us.
When I approached him with the idea I wasn’t sure if it was possible, and I wasn’t sure what he would say, but he was down for putting in for a one year tour. We figured if he was picked for it, then it was God’s will for us to hopefully leave this town, and if not, then it was His will for us to stay.
A few weeks ago we found out: He would be going on a one year tour instead of going on his regular deployment and he would be possibly leaving a little bit earlier then we originally thought.
So here we are, both excited about the possibility of moving and reeling from the decision to be apart for one year. Did we make the right decision we wonder? Is this really a good move? I’m still wondering, feeling a little left out in the dark, wandering around trying to find my way. But it’s done now. And the one year tour is a go.
Why Did We Do It?
I get asked all the time, but WHY? I know, I know, people think I am crazy. But I promise you, I’m not. We thought this thing through very well, and as many times as we second guess ourselves, I know that somehow, someway something good will come out of it.
We knew that he was going to be leaving for at least 6 months to deploy, so we thought why not a year? For a year, we can request a move to a new state. A state with better medical care for my two special needs children, a state with better doctors and specialists, and hospitals. Better CARE.
I know it will be worth it. I know it will be worth it to find better care for my two kids. It’s just part of the journey we are on, and one that we did not expect to come on, but are more than willing to do.
Why Won’t You Go With Him?
We have already been asked so many times, why our family can’t go together and we have several answers for that. The first is that this is an unaccompanied tour, meaning our family cannot go with him. The second is, that even if the military said we could go, we still couldn’t go because of all the special needs of my children. They need to be here to get the care they need and see the doctors, specialists, and therapists that know them and their case.
Will You Go Home to Family?
In the military community it is a well-known fact that a lot of families will go home to live with family during long deployments, but for us this is just not the case. While we will probably take a week or two to go visit family, we can not go live with them for long periods of time due to the same reasons above. My children’s doctors, specialists, and therapists are here. My son’s school is here. I cannot up and move somewhere else for a year because trying to get everything taken care of for their special needs would be astronomical.
When Will You Know Your Follow-On?
We are supposed to find out our follow-on, the state we are moving to, before he leaves. However, we have to get medically cleared to go to wherever they send us and that could be a problem with all of my kid’s needs. We are in the EFMP program, but since my daughter does not have an official diagnosis yet, things have been more difficult. It will all just depend on if the first place they want to send us will have all the resources we need or if they will have to keep trying different places. I am hoping and praying they select the perfect place for us.
What Can I Pray For?
Please pray for us this summer. We will be moving to a bigger house on base to house my children’s special needs equipment, working on getting a medical clearance before he leaves, and drawing closer and closer to that pre-deployment phase which is very stressful. Please pray for help and guidance, patience and peace to get through one year apart and how to help our children through this time.
I get told a lot that I am pro now. I have a book out on deployment so I am a pro. But I don’t feel like a pro. I definitely feel a little more prepared, but am not looking forward to missing my husband for one year. A year that my kids won’t have their daddy, a year of missed milestones, celebrations, holidays, good days and bad days and more. But we will make it through. We always do.
I will be praying for you! It sounds like you really thought through your options and made a wise decision, but that certainly doesn’t mean it was an easy decision. Our neighbor was stuck at a base for six-ish years so he volunteered for a short-tour (to Greenland, of all places!) in order to move here.
p.s. I’m not sure if you’re able to give preferences or if you’re trying to move somewhere specific, but I think our base would be a good fit for your family! Great doctors, great schools and (from what I’ve heard) very good support for special-needs families. And the town is super family-friendly too!
There is no ‘going pro’ in deployment. That’s for sure! We are getting ready to move to a new deployable duty station; my heart already aches just reading your post. It’s so hard being apart, and then you throw children in the mix, and it becomes an entirely new ball game. I’m with you though, we do not move back to our home state during deployments. While I understand why people do it, and I don’t think it’s a bad idea, I do think it’s important to remember we need to embrace our duty station as our home.
I am right there with you! I went away to tech school (I’m in the guard) for 3 months and right before I left we found out that my husband got orders for a year. So I went away came home for a week then my husband jetted off to his location. At this point it’s been 8 months with only two weeks of actually seeing each other.
I don’t think we are strong or powerful women we just adapt like you said to the situations that are presented to us. Yes, it’s hard there are days I cry just so I can make it through the rest of the day. I have a 2 year old in full swing of the terrible 2s but I don’t know if I could do this 15 month separation alone. It’s been tough, but you know I’m by you side.
and you are right deployments and such never gets easier you just are able to adapt to them.
But we did get a pretty awesome follow on to Hawaii!
Will be praying for you! We just did 8 months – so not quite the full year but I get a snippet of what it’ll be like. Don’t know if you would interested at all or it would fit your husband’s career field, but Offutt AFB in Nebraska is often a magnet for EFMP families. We’re close to several major medical centers and have a good, vibrant program here (from what I’ve heard). Don’t know if you guys have much say in where you go, but will be praying for whoever makes those decisions for your course!
I know I’ve said it before, but I’m really proud of you for the optimism you constantly have. I also applaud you for doing what’s best for your family. Oh, and we’re coming up on our seventh deployment—I don’t think you can ever be completely prepared or ready for one, but I know that you’ll get through it!
I really can’t imagine. You guys are amazing!
Sending a prayer your way! What a difficult decision but regardless of what anyone says to you, it is your decision to make together, and I hope and pray you both are brought peace and comfort during this time of separation and change!
Thank you Elizabeth, I appreciate that! And thank you for the prayers. God bless!