I love when people guest write for my blog. Hearing other peoples thoughts and opinions I believe are what really get my thinking and my creativity flowing. Here is a deployment related blog from my awesome friend. Enjoy!
This is probably my least favorite thing that we do as Military Spouses and I have been on both ends of it. Last year my husband didn’t go on the “squadron” deployment because they allowed him to stay home for the birth of his first child. Which is very nice of the commander and crew. However, it’s not necessarily something anyone in the military should expect. We certainly didn’t. We were actually told on several occasions “He can be here for the conception or the birth, pick one.” With it being my first pregnancy, I was VERY glad to have my hubby there for me. And because he missed that deployment, he essentially got to stay home for a year and a half. He was an alternate to go right after the birth, but no relief was needed at the halfway point. The point is he stayed at home. If you’re reading this, if your husband, or yourself are in the service, I have to tell you: At some point in your/your spouse’s career, you WILL have a year and a half home. (TDYs [Temporary Duty] don’t count. God, they don’t count. My hubby has been gone months on end in that year and a half, and they just aren’t the same as the horror of deployment.*) If your time works out so that your spouse has a good commander and the mission allows it, then I hope both parents always get to be there for the birth of all your children. I hope mine gets to be there for all of ours.
I’m not apologizing if your husband volunteers and I’m not sorry he goes if there’s nothing major that he’s missing. It’s the job. He signed up for that, and you signed up for it by marrying him. It sucks, and I’m sorry you also have to go through it. But don’t get resentful because someone’s husband got to see his daughter being born. What kind of person resents that? I actually had other spouses say shitty things to me, or snide comments about how their husbands work harder, or more than mine. (That’s definitely not true, by the way. My husband does more than his fair share and if your husband ALSO does, then good for him. I’m just going to assume he does because I have no interest in the bitterness that Negative Nancying causes here. If you want to calculate how much we’ve seen our husbands, though, please keep in mind that while some squadrons send guys on TDYs once every few months, others sends guys on TDYs every day. We were at our last base under 2 years and he had something like 450 TDY days when we left.)
The schedulers and those who decide who does and doesn’t go… they’re not unfair people (usually). And my husband’s good at his job. When your husband gets “sent” places more often than mine… maybe he volunteers. I know that happens a lot more than wives are told. Come on. If there’s a TDY that comes up to Germany, he’d be crazy not to volunteer! Or maybe the other guys in his position had something more important going on in his life or job. There are a dozen different trainings and commitments they have to do that interfere with getting sent places. I know a lot of “no kids” families get upset by the fact that kids mean more events and more commitments to work around: births, holidays, etc… but you’re going to appreciate it when it’s your turn to have kids. And, I’m sorry to sound cold and blunt, but the birth of a child is more important than your second wedding anniversary.
On the other side of that coin: my husband is currently on a 6 month deployment. His squadron is deployed for 4 months, but he went ahead of them and is staying for a while still after they return. I understand that this is kind of a drop in the bucket for a lot of military wives. I understand I have absolutely no right to complain; he didn’t miss anything major. No weddings, no births. (First birthday, but she won’t even remember it, so nothing major.) But I have to admit, as my child is up every night teething, I do finally see the temptation of resentment. The squadron is coming back in a matter of days now. Some are already back. I am absolutely ecstatic for my friends who are going to be reunited with their other halves. I love the thrill of the flight line, even when it’s not my husband coming home. Everyone’s in a great mood, everyone’s excited. It’s all beautiful love reunions and just being near them it’s easy to get an emotional high. But then they go home with their spouses and I wish I had my husband back, too. When I get the excited emails from the spouses’ group about how “Our hubbies will be back soon!” I do want to cry a little. I have been known to mutter under my breath, “Maybe YOURS does.” And when I was new to this life… When I didn’t understand this concept, I said those things to other wives, too. But, older, wiser, me says the most important lesson you learn as a military spouse: “Shut up. It’s your turn to do this. They do it, too. Eat your cookies, ignore the laundry that needs folding and carry on with your life just a little bit shittier. Because when he gets back, your life is so blissfully happy it makes up for it. Suck it up and don’t piss in her Wheaties. She’s paid her dues, too. Or she will one day.” Because that’s the thing about the military: It’s like the taxman. It’s not always going to screw you. But it probably will one day. And deployment works this way. It’ll be his turn to go on a 365 or 180 eventually. He WILL miss something important. The longer he’s in the more likely it is. Someone should write this in the marriage application. “Do you accept he WILL deploy and it WILL suck?” and “I hereby acknowledge that anything that CAN go wrong WILL go wrong while he’s gone.” A military clause of some kind so we won’t be as blindsided by this.
Anyways, here’s the thing: Our first and foremost goal as military wives should be to support each other. To help each other through the struggles, because HE won’t be there. We chose to share our lives with someone only to realize we’ll only be sharing it part of the time. That makes it so necessary to be there for each other. When my hubby was here and my friends’ husbands weren’t, I checked in on those girls. If there was man stuff to do around their houses, I made sure my hubby did it. (Oh, he just loves when I volunteer him for things.) The fact of the matter is, whether we like it or not, we’re family. Because we are the only ones who know what the other are going through. We understand each other’s lives. We just have to remember that and bite back the tears when our best friend is rushing the flight line to get to her husband and you’re wishing it was your turn already.
*More on TDY =\= Deployments. My snarky explanation. Having your spouse gone is always going to suck. You miss them all the same, no matter where they are. And Civilian friends don’t know the difference between a TDY and a Deployment, so the temptation is there to lump the two together because the masses understand “Deployment” better than TDY. To clarify, TDY or Temporary Duty, is when the military sends the active duty member somewhere for a short amount of time (although sometimes longer than others), usually for training and most likely in the Continental United States. Or someplace close to his home base. The family isn’t paid to go with the Active Duty member, but they can usually just show up and visit whenever they want. It typically lasts anywhere from a few days to a few months. Military spouses, it is important to resist the temptation to call TDYs ‘Deployments.’ Because the distinguishing difference in the two is vital. Your spouse is NOT directly in harm’s way on a TDY. While my hubby is TDY, I worry about the fact that he’ll drink excessively and get into trouble. I do NOT worry about mortars being launched at him. I worry that the battery in his phone will die at a bad time, leaving him lost in a strange city. I do NOT worry about anti-aircraft missiles. I worry that while drinking excessively he’ll get lost and THEN get into trouble. I do NOT worry about how he has to check his food for explosives before eating. Calling TDYs deployments diminishes his ACTUAL service when he actually IS risking his life daily in a combat zone. And, if other active duty members find out you’ve been doing it, it definitely makes him the butt of jokes. If he can go to Taco Bell for Lunch, it’s not a deployment. Don’t count long TDYs to inflate your number of deployments to sound more impressive. Just don’t call TDYs ‘Deplyments’… Unless you’re crying to a cop to get out of a speeding ticket… That’s totally fair.