That's a picture of my Pampered Chef Small Bar Pan. And that circle baked into the middle is the result of repeatedly baking a single Pillsbury biscuit. Which I did for 13 months.
I have always been the first to say that I bow down to spouses who have to juggle kids during a deployment. Nothing I did can compare to that.
But there's something about being by yourself during the deployment that's just so...lonely.
During OIF II, I stayed in Germany while my husband deployed. I didn't have kids or pets to keep me company, so it was just me. One of my friends couldn't stand to come to my house because she said it was painfully quiet.
Most of the time, it wasn't so bad: I got to watch whatever I wanted on TV, I didn't have to wait my turn for the computer, and I got to sleep sprawled out in the middle of the bed. But other times it just plain stunk. One morning I woke up with a crick in my neck that wouldn't go away, and there was no one to give me a back rub. I walked around miserable for three days, covered in BenGay and wishing there were someone I felt comfortable enough to ask to rub my aching back.
And there are no hugs when an ocean separates you from the rest of your family. I know I went for months without basic human contact, and I envied the folks who at least could hug their kids. (We've since gotten a furry little dog, so next year I'll at least have someone to cuddle.)
So while my stress level was significantly lower during the year than that of the temporary-single moms', being all alone in the house is not much fun either. Of course, I'd better not say that too loudly, or someone's gonna drop their kids off at my house next time!