I have thought several times that nothing could have prepared me for deployment. It's too big, too vast and too hard to wrap a mind around...kind of like marriage or childbirth.
Once I was on the been-there-done-that side of it, however, I realized something: Deployment prepared me for a lot of things.
Trust me. I'm not a silver lining kind of gal and I scarcely believed the veteran MilSpouses who told me that during deployment I would learn more about myself than I cared to know. I was even told I might find sources inside myself I never even knew I had. Kind of hard to believe when I found myself a blubbering puddle of goo on more than one occasion, but in a clutch, when it really counted, I drove on.
Some things I learned about myself fall into the lighter-side-of-life category. For instance, when the main spider slayer is deployed and a spider is scaring my girls, I squish with wild abandon...I have even killed a spider with my bare hands! (hold your applause until the end, please). I have produced a nutritious meal when nothing is in the house except a couple eggs, a spot of milk, some lunch meat and an apple. I have creatively stretched very thin dimes, scaled mountains of laundry, survived middle-of-the-night trips to the ER, and lived through the tag-teaming Germ Festival I affectionately call "my kids".
What I never imagined, though, is that once I could see past the inordinately long list of icky things about deployment, I noticed lasting changes in myself that I am glad to see.
Without having experienced deployment, I don't think returning to school at this point in my life would have been a do-able thing. Deployment taught me not to sweat the small stuff (who has time??), to choose my battles and to be realistic about what I can do in one day. Law school is a marathon and a roller coaster very much like a deployment; the stakes are just different.
I'm curious to know what those who have been through deployments can offer to those currently experiencing or anticipating one...what positive things did YOU discover about yourself? What about deployment stuck with you, much to your surprise?
For those of you experiencing deployment now, what things do you imagine you'll want to do when your spouse returns home? Anything you had to give up/delay because of the deployment that you plan to return to? (Author's Note: In re-reading this, there is obviously something you are doing without now which you do NOT need to share in comments...this is, after all, a family blog! LOL)
P.S. : I'm not optimistic (naive?) enough to think that a past deployment in any way, shape or form prepares me for the next one! When THAT happens, I'll have to write a book or something.