No one explained it would be so hard to explain deployment to others. No one said it would be so hard to listen to friends complain away about how their husband did this or that. Or how their husband is gone for ten days. Or how their son didn’t mow the yard just so. Why didn't you tell me how hard it was going to be to deal with THEM?
No one told me I would want to grab these people by their shirts and shake them. I have wanted to scream, “Ten days!! PLEASE GIRLFRIEND! I have done that ten times in a row and still have 266 days left!” I have stopped myself from shouting at the top of my lungs “Are you really complaining to me about your husband being home??!”
The hardest comment I have heard from someone so far has been “I would give anything to have my kids and husband gone for a year. Do you know how clean my house would be?” That’s when I decided to start my own Rules of Engagement for dealing with THEM. Here are a few: (hopefully it helps you!)
1) There is no way for someone to grasp what 366 days without your husband is like until they do it. Don’t expect them to get it! There are a few other career fields that go through similar things but for the most part civilians are not going to understand! (And I do mean 366 days as we got a deployment during a leap year!!!)
2) People are trying really hard to not upset you. They see you as fragile and weak not matter how long you took care of yourself before you got married or how many deployments you have been through. The concept that you are merely bruised and not broken is hard for some people. I found coming right out and asking them to treat me like they “normally” do really helps!
3) No matter the craziness, even if the kids are hanging off the ceiling fans, you have to sound happy and excited to hear from your loved one when they call. At least that really works for us! My phone rings and I see that “odd” number, no matter the day, I put my happy face on, step away from whatever I am doing for privacy and say “Hi HONEY!” in the happiness of voices.
4) Remember you are not alone! You are now a part of a family that goes back generations, to before we were even a country. We are everywhere you look. We are here for each other! We know! We understand! Reach out to us and we will be there for you!
Guestblogger Gretchen Morrison told SpouseBuzz, “You will not find a single generation where at least one person has not served our country in the military in my family. Well, every branch except one… I took care of that by falling in love and marrying My Marine. Although I serve now as a Wyoming Army Guard wife Hubster will always be My Marine! Three months after getting married, Hubster was deployed and we are spending our first year apart. I would not trade one moment of being married to My Marine for as second of being anything else!”