Dear Deployment: Respectfully, Molly
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This is the first time we’re meeting face to face and I’ve already decided that we are not friends. I’ve known you from a distance before of course. You’ve acquainted yourself with my family when my brother was a young man, but this time, you’re intruding on my personal space and I really don’t like it.
You’ve only been here for a few days, but you’ve been lingering on the horizon of our lives for some time now. You’ve been stressing me out, making me irritable and shortsighted for weeks. Just the other morning you had me arguing with my love over who put food in the sink and didn’t run the garbage disposal. Yes, that’s right, I blame you for that argument…and I hold a grudge.
Many of my friends tell me that you make them feel stronger, more faithful, more in charge of their lives and their emotions. They say that distance makes the heart grow fonder, and that they are better people after you’ve left them. I say baloney! You make me feel like I’m far less capable than I know I am. You make me feel helpless and lonely and inept. You cause undue stress and bring a multitude of shortcomings glaringly to the surface of my mind. You make me argue with God.
I had myself convinced that you were supposed to help me grow. That you’d teach me things about myself and my boyfriend that I didn’t know, that you’d kindle our love and cause me to be more devoted both to my relationship and to God. Instead, you’re making me cranky.
The worst part of all of this? This is the short one. This is the one where you will invade our lives for just a few short months, weeks even. This is the time that I am supposed to be easily able to handle you being a house guest…I’m so afraid of when you will come to stay. The few months that will pass without you and then when you will come and take a strong hold on my home, and unpack your bags, and linger through the holidays…I’m so afraid.
I don’t want to be afraid.
So anyway, I’m Molly. I grew up in a tiny town in Central New York state and now I am proud and excited to be teaching a group of fabulous seventh graders in Colorado. I’m a photographer, aspiring writer, terrible cook, and wife to one infuriating soldier whom I love immensely. When I’m not at work you can usually find me hanging out with a good book and my eleven-pound Rat Terrier, Penny. I blog sometimes, when I remember to, at www.lovetheeveryday.com
Molly, you flat-out nailed it.
Thanks! We’ve dealt with several separations since I wrote this letter… it doesn’t get easier, but I have become more capable. A little. Kinda. 🙂
No, it doesn’t go away…but believe me, you are SO important to your deployed operator. You’re his North Star.
I worked as a paramilitary contractor, and my deployments were mission-specific, and completely irregular in lead time and duration (the go-bags, for different AOs, absolutely RULED the house). Without someone waiting, holding sanity together, I would have been lost indeed.
You make the world go ’round. Please believe me on this.
Sometimes the short ones ARE harder, honestly! I think the most stressful period is the month before deployment, and the last month. So when those get compressed together, you never have time to get to a normal coasting stage. But that tension and stress will resolve, and you will find a way. Don’t be afraid. Fear makes us smaller. Actually doing it, day after day, makes us strong. You’ve got this!