I Don't Want to Be That Person


I've had a bit of a conundrum this deployment that has me seriously sensitive to my own behavior.

What it boils down to is this, "To Tell or Not to Tell?"

When it comes to my children's activities, I'm very forthcoming to those in charge. I tell them right off the bat that Dad is deployed and that I'm playing school bus driver in the minivan on my own.

I hate doing this. It makes me horrifically uncomfortable, because I get the feeling that when I inform those in charge of the situation, they feel like they're supposed to say or do something to show they understand. I feel like the "aura" of the situation is that I'm asking for some kind of special treatment or sympathy.

Ugh. Sympathy. Blech. I don't feel sorry for myself, and the thought that someone might feel sorry for me makes me want to barf. On the other hand, when someone does try to commiserate, they are doing so because they feel like they should do something, and I don't want to seem ungrateful or inconsiderate of that, either. I'm always afraid it seems that I'm using my husband's deployment as a hammer, when I'm actually trying to use it as a shim.

It's such a tangled web.

My real choice would be to not say a word. I mean, is it really anyone's business? If I get my kids where they're supposed to be when they're supposed to be there, do the details matter? I'd much rather avoid the whole issue of people feeling like they are being thrust into the sympathy role through the social contract. I don't want to be the person who seems like Eeyore, "Thanks for noticing me..."

On the other hand, in the general scheme of things my kids don't always get where they need to be when they need to be. For example, we missed an entire week of lessons/sports/scout meetings when I was too sick to drive anyone anywhere. There was simply no one else to take them.

Not to mention the extra activities that come up that I just can't make because of conflicting schedules.

I don't want these people who work so hard at volunteering their time and effort to think I don't value what they do and what they contribute. There's a reason I miss meetings, am late, leave early, or seem generally frazzled. That reason is fairly straightforward, and I think understandable. And my choice is to either seem like an ungrateful flake or explain the situation before the inevitable disaster of some sort strikes.

So even though I don't want to be that person - the one who is constantly telling people, "My husband is deployed right now!" I end up being that person. And I cringe every time I do it.

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