Dear Deployment: Sincerely, Joy
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After visiting us 8 times, you’d think the 9th time wouldn’t be so difficult. But you’re always different when you come to stay. Usually, you’re only with us 60-75 days. This time, that number 220 on the orders looked very daunting. It’s scary. I battled depression and anxiety in the days and weeks leading up to your arrival. I wasn’t ready. I’m never ready.
But once you came and hubby left, I got a bit of peace. I forced myself into the mindset of “we can do
this” and pushed on. And we’re at least managing to tread water. It’s not easy, though. I always tell
myself that we’ve made it through your visits over and over again, so the next time it’s got to get easier.
But it never does.
That being said – Thank you.
Thank you for teaching me that I am a strong, independent wife and mother.
Thank you for reminding me that sometimes I just have to call the handyman or plumber.
Thank you for giving me friends that understand what we’re going through as a family.
Thank you for the built in support system of military spouses and families.
Thank you for making my kids incredibly resilient.
Thank you for FaceTime.
Thank you for the trials that bring our family closer together even though we’re thousands of miles apart.
Thank you for the homecomings.
Thank you for the job – and the fact that you allow my husband to provide a good life for our family.
Thank you for teaching me when to say “No.”
Thank you for forcing me to swallow my pride and admit when I need help.
Deployment, your visits are never easy. It seems like you bring Murphy’s law with you every time you come to stay with us. But the challenges you and Murphy bring force me to be flexible and adapt. You teach me how to let go of some things and how to cling to what’s important.
And when you leave, and hubby returns, the time we have together as a family is SO precious. The last 4 years with 200+ days gone every year has put strain on our family in certain areas, but grown us in others. Hubby has missed 4 of our son’s 5 birthdays, but it makes celebrations when he’s home ever so sweet. When he’s home, we cling to each other. Family time is precious and we tend to shut the rest of the world out – but that works for us. It keeps us tight. It holds us together. And you taught us that.
You taught me to be flexible and adapt. You forced me to adopt the mantra “Flexibility is the key to airpower.” You educated me on how to actually accept that philosophy and roll with the punches when I have to. You helped me grow up. You made me strong. You bring out both the worst and the best in us. And we decide to focus on the best.
You still have about 4 months left in your visit. Please make the days fly by. Please don’t throw too many curveballs at us with the rest of your stay. Please make my kids strong. Please keep my hubby safe. Please bring him home soon. Please let him know how proud we are of him!
Fly! Fight! Win!
Joy’s family has been through nine deployments ranging from 60-228 days. She is actively involved with the Military Spouse Advocacy Network as the Deployment & Resilience Coordinator. She blogs about parenting, deployment and reintegration issues, and the reality of what life is as an Air Force family. You can check her blog out at throughitallandthensome.
blogspot.com or email her at email@example.com
Beautiful, Joy! I can’t imagine. Thank you both for your sacrifice!
…And may these next four months fly. 🙂
So well written Joy! I don’t know how recently you wrote that letter, but I hope those four months, whenever they are/were moved quickly. There is nothing like a homecoming!
Thanks Ladies! Thankfully, this deployment ended June of 2014. We have another one ahead, though! Such is military life! His homecoming was great and reintigration was much easier than I thought it would be! Hopefully #10 will be just as easy (mercifully, it’s shorter!).