Surviving Deployment

Ugh. Deployment.

For the few months I had to prepare leading up to deployment, all I could constantly think about was, “How am I going to do this all by myself, every day for 6 months?”
Let me just stop right there. Here is what my day (on average) looked like Monday – Friday.

6:00 am: Wake up. Make breakfast for Dan, turn on coffee pot, pack husband’s lunch.
6:45am: Kiss husband good-bye for work, and quickly fall back into the deepest sleep possible, because you know your child is going to wake up as soon as you are about to drift off.
8:00am: Child is awake. Go downstairs make him and yourself breakfast. Ahhh coffee, how I love you. I love you so much, I will have you twice.
11:00am: My second cup of hot coffee has successfully turned into ice coffee after relentlessly chasing my child around, making sure he’s not sticking his fingers in outlets while simultaneously climbing over furniture and finding sharp objects I didn’t know I owned. I really don’t know why people are looking up recipes for cold brewed coffee on Pinterest?? Just add toddler.
11:30am: Ah, nap time. I should really nap too, because I’m tired and I don’t know why. But I can’t because I really need to clean the house, do some laundry, and make a grocery list.
3:30pm: Cleaned the house, did a load of laundry, went on a successful grocery trip. Somehow I’m in Target buying a ton of things I really don’t need. I’ll just return them tomorrow.
5:30pm: My stomach is grumbling and my toddler is now Hangry. This banana ought to keep him happy until dinner is ready. Let me text my husband and see if he will make it home tonight in time for us to sit down and eat dinner together.
6:00pm: 1 NEW TEXT “Sorry babe, I’ll be home late tonight.”
Nothing unusual here. Piers and I will eat dinner and maybe Dan will make it home for bath time.
7:45pm: 1 NEW TEXT “Hey hun, leaving in 5 minutes.”
8:30pm: 1 NEW TEXT “Hey babe, just left work. Sorry, I got put on the schedule for tomorrow so I had to do some flight planning. Be home soon.”
8:45pm: Why does my child hate every book I pick out to read to him, and what is so special about this Pout Pout Fish? I swear, we’ve read this story every day straight for the past month.
9:15pm: Ah, a sleeping toddler. My husband has just walked through the door and is heating up dinner. I can’t wait to talk to him about how his day went. Oh, you can only stay awake for 15 minutes because you have to shove all this food in your mouth and you want to watch Friends to decompress? Okay, I’m down with that. We’ll talk about your day tomorrow when you get home. Oh you have 24 hour duty after your flight. Okay, I’ll see you on Friday. We’ll catch up then. -_-
9:45pm: Brush our teeth, go to bed.
1:00am: My child is awake. Why is he crying!? What’s wrong!? He’s too young to know what monsters are….Why does it look like the Hoover Dam broke and all the water is flooding from his mouth? Ew, is this from teething? Stop drooling. Okay, drool if it makes you feel better, just go back to sleep. Okay eat this Orajel. No, not working? Okay, here are some essential oils. Oh, you still hate life? Okay, here is some Ibuprofen. Oh, now you want to play? No we are going to bed.
3:00am: Ahh bed,
6:00am: Repeat day.

How ever will we do this, alone?
I think we got it.

Deployment vaguely reminds me of when we brought our child home from the hospital. Both of our parents flew out to California for his birth and to spend the first few weeks of his life with us. This gave time for us to sleep while they helped out with him, did our dishes, cleaned our home…it was truly a blessing. And then BAM! Everyone got on a plane and left the day before Dan went back to work because his paternal leave ended. I had a massive panic attack the night before he went back to work because all I could think of was “How am I going to do this on my own tomorrow?”
No surprise, I woke up and I just repeated what I had done 2 weeks before, just with no help. And I made it.
This is very much deployment.
The anxiety and fear of deployment ended up being dramatically worse than deployment itself. But here are a few things I have learned that I wish to share with you on my 1st deployment journey so far.

1. You will have bad days (if you don’t, you are clearly drinking too much wine).
You will want to pull out your hair, and scream, and you’ll probably eat McDonald’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the same day because you really don’t feel like cooking. It’s okay. You deserve a break. I mean Jesus, eat a salad maybe for lunch just to watch out for your arteries, but take the day off. I hear red wine is good for your heart, so maybe pair your McDouble with a glass of it…should counter-act each other. It’s just science.

2. Don’t ask another spouse if she’s heard from her spouse that day. For the love of God, it doesn’t matter. It’s just going to worry her or make her upset that you have heard from yours and hers hasn’t skyped/emailed (this is different from asking “How’s ‘xxx’ doing?”). Just invite her over and pour her some wine.

3. Don’t compare deployments. Don’t tell me how much harder your deployment was because you barely got to email/skype your husband on his.
I mean what is this, a contest? Regardless of where they go, they are still gone for 6 -9 months. That’s months of someone’s spouse/father/son being gone. Guess what, it sucks. It sucks when they are gone for that long and you get to skype, and it sucks when they are gone for that long and you get A skype. And please, don’t tell me my husbands deployment isn’t “real” because he’s not in Afghanistan/Iraq.
First off, what kind of a friend say’s that? You suck. Don’t be a sucky friend. Unfortunately I have heard some women utter these words and it breaks my heart. My husband’s best friend died on his deployment, and he was not in a War Zone. Don’t degrade any Marine’s death. I know you may not be doing it intentionally, but you just did. And now I hate you.

4. Call for backup.
Bueller, Bueller? No seriously. call someone. I have called my parents so many times to come down for a weekend to help me with my son. I just needed to eat dinner at my dinner table and feel like I was part of a family. I had dinner with my girlfriends, pout sessions, bitch sessions, you name it. Call someone. You’re not the only feeling the way you are, and someone will appreciate the fact that you are reaching out for help because they need it too.

5. Take it one drink day at a time.
Stay busy, get out of the house every day, even if it’s just to return the Redbox you’ve been hoarding for the past 14 days (you should probably keep it, I think you own it now). Fresh air is so good for the soul. Join a gym, find a new place to explore every day, ask for a good book to read, or find a new hobby. Keep busy! Do something that challenges your brain, but is relaxing and enjoyable (please don’t watch too much of Keeping up with the Kardashians. I have found this does challenge my brain, but in a way that hurts. It hurts so bad).

And remember – Wine is your new friend best friend.

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