I was initially hesitant to write about James’ deployment. It’s not a topic that is particularly happy or particularly easy to discuss. I wasn’t sure if it was a direction I wanted to go in with the blog or a topic I wanted to openly talk about. But then, I don’t really have a clear direction for this blog and often the things that are difficult to talk about are the things that need to be said the most.
One of my goals for this blog is to write about my life as openly and honestly as possible. James being gone for a few months is a major part of my life right now. How can I not write about it?
My plan is to write updates throughout the course of this deployment. I always wonder how other spouses handle long separations like these, so I want to shine some light on my personal journey and hope that it resonates with others going through similar experiences. Life isn’t always as pretty as it looks on Instagram and my goal is to show the real and raw ups and downs of our life during a deployment.
So, without further ado, and after the longest intro into a blog post ever, let’s talk about the first week of deployment!
Spoiler alert: It wasn’t awesome.
The day your spouse leaves for a deployment sucks. There’s just no other way to put it. In fact, for me at least, the days leading up to the day your spouse leaves for a deployment aren’t that great either. The impending goodbye, the emotions of watching him pack up most of his belongings, the sadness of watching him put Charlie to bed for the last time…I mean come on. I tear up just thinking about it. And then the day he leaves…ugh.
I survived the first week of deployment. The day James left was just as rough as I expected. I cried. A lot. I moped and I sulked and I allowed myself to wallow in my newfound and overabundant self-pity.
But, then I did something I was really proud of. I worked out. I’ve been trying to do quick workouts while Charlie naps, but I totally anticipated giving myself a reprieve that first day and wallowing on the couch instead. But, after about 20 minutes of said wallowing, I decided that perhaps getting back into my routine would get me out of my “deployment sucks funk”. So I got up and did a 30-minute workout.
Did it get me out of my funk? No, not really. But, it did make me feel proud of myself for trying and for using my limited free time to do something healthy.
This was the hardest good-bye to date, I think. We’ve had a lot of good-byes over the last few years, but this one was the hardest because James will be gone for longer than he’s ever been before. When I think about how long he’ll be away, I simultaneously feel like my stomach is dropping and someone is punching me in the chest. I have a physical reaction when I allow myself to think about the next few months. Fingers crossed I get over this soon.
I don’t admit that lightly. I hate showing weakness or sadness. I hate that I’m not stronger, not better at this whole military spouse/solo parenting gig. But, my goal is to be open and honest and so with that in mind I have to show my vulnerability.
The day after James left, Charlie woke up with a cold. Blah. Luckily, it was a small cold and he was still in pretty good spirits. The next few days were hard because we were essentially trapped in the house, hiding from germs and cold weather. This totally derailed my plan to keep our normal routine and get out of the house as much as possible.
I pretty much hated that first week, but then realized something along the way. The first week was always going to suck. So, if Charlie was going to get sick, might as well get all the crappiness out of the way that first week and then hope that things would only get better from there. (Somehow that sounded more positive in my head.)
I also realize that we are actually quite lucky. James is only deploying for a few months. There are families who have to deal with much longer deployment lengths. And there are families dealing with much harder life situations in general. If the worst thing going on in my life is missing my amazing husband while he is away serving our country, then I suppose I should be thanking my lucky stars that he’s mine to miss.
Deployments suck. But, (get ready for a corny quote y’all!) they say the hardest “good-byes” lead to the sweetest “hellos”, and I know from personal experience how true that is.
We made it through the first week and now my plan is to just take it one day at a time…because, well, there’s really no other option is there?