4 Good Things About Deployment: Finding The Silver Lining
I thought I would take a break from baring my soul about infertility, and talk about something pretty much any military wife can relate to: deployment. When I told my husband on FaceTime that I was going to write on good things about deployment, he laughed. “Are there any?” he asked. Maybe just coming home.
On one level, there are mostly negative things about deployment. How hard it is to be apart…. the loneliness…the sketchy situations when you’re alone or your spouse is in a combat zone…the missing out on events and special occasions.
But if we can get past that for just a minute, I have come up with a few positive results of the separation. None of this is to say that I would have rather have him gone– not in the least. Option A is always to have hubby home. But if I’m faced with Option B of him deployed, good things can still result from it. These are my silver linings:
1. You Realize How Much You Can Do On Your Own
When I first got married, a friend of my husband wrote me a long email about military life. She answered some questions and gave me good insight. I still remember her saying that “on deployment, you’ll be so proud of yourself for all the things you’re able to do on your own.”
Her words made sense then, but now I’m starting to really get it. This is my fourth deployment, and first with a baby. I have a great feeling of satisfaction in the things I have been able to do on my own. I may not have chosen to do them on my own, had I had the choice. But since I didn’t, I am happy to know that I am able to, and that’s one of the good things about deployment.
2. You Realize How Much You Can’t Do On Your Own
I’m very independent and I know many of you are as well. We have to be. So the ironic thing about that is, when faced with having to do everything on my own, it’s only then that I realize my limits.
When someone brings me dinner because they just figure I could use a break…. and I realize they were right. When my window blinds are breaking and I can’t reach my burned out light bulb… and a friend or neighbor stops by to help. Even when I just want to sit on the couch with someone and watch my favorite show, and I text another spouse in the squadron to come over.
It’s then that I realize the value of companionship. The value of a partner in crime. Not that I didn’t know already, but now I REALLY know. Many things can be done alone, but not everything should be.
3. You Can Learn About Each Other In A New Way
One of the good things about deployment this time around is that I’m getting to see my husband be a dad, even from far away. Our daughter was two weeks old when he left on deployment. So, he only got two crazy whirlwind weeks of being a hands-on daddy. Now I get to see him be a daddy from behind the screen.
I have had to figure out how to include him in our daughter’s life and help this process along. He is always more than willing; it is just tough sometimes with her schedule. Or it can be a challenge to carry her, the phone, the boppy, and other paraphernalia to a place he can see her.
Sometimes it means carrying the phone upstairs when I change a diaper. Or just putting him on the floor next to her while she plays so he can watch. Sometimes I even say, “Ok, honey, you’re babysitting,” while I run to the next room to grab something. I think it makes him feel like he’s having special time with P even when he’s far away. He’s always so happy after he gets to watch her roll around, babbling and screeching.
It is so special and so endearing to watch him be a dad. He is great at it already. And we’re learning about each other’s parenting styles too by sharing these moments.
Time To Chill
Another way I’ve learned about my hubby in previous deployments is seeing what he does for down time and how he gets recharged. I am the type of person who likes to be productive and get things done. He can sit on the couch all day and do nothing, and feel perfectly fine about it. If I do that, I feel guilty and like I’ve wasted so much time.
I learned that when he has time off, he sometimes likes to just chill and watch tv. It helps me realize that he needs that break and it’s relaxing for him. It helps me be more understanding when he’s home and needing some down time.
4. You Appreciate Every Little Thing When He’s Back
The best thing about deployment is of course homecoming. But after the dust settles and you’re back in your normal routine, the separation will have helped you to appreciate him just being there. Having someone to fight your battles, to hang out on the couch with, to drive to the grocery store with… you don’t take it for granted. You grab his hand any chance you can, and realize just how blessed you are that he’s there. And that’s one of my favorite good things about deployment.
For more deployment encouragement, see Life As A Navy Wife