The Un-Waiting Game


RedLegMeg wrote about The Waiting Game yesterday, the time between the moment the deployment is announced and the day they actually leave.  That's a rough time.

We mentally prepare ourselves for deployment.  We start to think in an independent mindframe, and we try to find the silver lining as best we can.  We come up with all these things we will accomplish when they're gone: next year I'll lose weight because I won't cook as well, I'll make those two quilts I've been talking about for years, I'll read all those books, I'll fly to L.A. to visit my friend, and so on. We convince ourselves that the year will go by fast because we'll be so busy. And then, when he gets home, we'll start a family. Everything will be perfect, because we've convinced ourselves that it's all working out according to plan.

RedLegMeg is struggling with moving goalposts: her husband's date keeps changing.  But how do we deal with the goalposts falling down altogether?

When this blog first started, I wrote about my husband's upcoming deployment.  We had a little over three months to prepare ourselves.  Just like RedLegMeg, we'd PCS and he'd be off.

But that's not what's happening now. My husband found out that his branch switch went through. He originally had made a scratch-my-back deal with his branch manager that she'd let him leave his current branch and take a new slot in Civil Affairs if he took this slot in the deploying unit that no one else wanted. We were all set to do that, when he got word that he's going directly to Civil Affairs training. No more deployment for us.

ArmyWifeToddlerMom always says that when you're on the outside looking in, people think that reintegration is just jumping up and down with a handmade sign and life is all flowers and sausages. But for the people going through it, it's not always that simple. That's how I feel today about this non-deployment. I would never say that making a quilt or reading a book is better than (or even comparable to) having my husband living in the house with me, but I had psyched myself up with all the ways I would get through next year, and it's just strange to turn all those thoughts off all of a sudden.

And the family thing, the family thing is killing me.

I heard my husband tell his mom on the phone the other day that we just had our hearts set on having a baby "like a normal couple." The way he phrased it, "like a normal couple," broke my heart. I want that so bad, and I thought it was within reach. He'd come home from deployment and have time where he was stuck in school and not going anywhere. And we'd be together for the entire pregnancy and birth. Like a normal couple. Unlike nearly every other Army wife I know who has done it alone. We had found a way to control our destiny, if only for a while.

And now, now he starts training a year early. And we're not ready to be parents just yet. Our options have now become 1) go for it before we're ready, or 2) take the chance of doing it apart. I don't like either of those options.

Civil Affairs most likely means more deployments in our future. We're fine with that, but we just wanted to get a leg up on the Army, one last stint of normalcy before he gives his life over to the whims of current events. And I find myself extremely disappointed.

I'm disappointed that my husband isn't deploying. Try explaining that complex emotion to family and friends.

So how do we shut off all the mental preparedness we went through to get ready to be independent?  He was supposed to leave in a month, and I'm having a hard time rewiring my brain.  I'm thrilled he'll be home, but I'm having a hard time with this strange whirlwind of emotions.  I tell people he's not leaving, and they're jumping up and down with an excitement I just haven't mustered yet.

Yep, I'm officially a candidate for "caged animal"...

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