Why didn’t you tell me that with each mention of a deployment getting underway, my heart would rip out of my chest. I know that pain.
Why didn’t you tell me that every homecoming would bring tears of joy to my eyes. I know that joy.
It’s hard not to put yourself back into those familiar feelings and know what your fellow milspouses are going through.
I love that. I love that I can genuinely and authentically experience my friend’s feelings because I myself have felt the same way. That gives me the unique ability to know how to comfort them and celebrate with them.
It’s something that people who haven’t experienced this crazy military world we live in can’t understand.
Until you’ve watched your husband, the father of your sweet little children, sail away into the Pacific, unsure when you’ll see him next, you just can’t relate.
They definitely try. Our civilian family and friends can be very helpful and caring. Yet the ones who understand are the wonderful people that we’ve met in the trenches who truly know what those tear-stained pillow nights are like.
To begin our most recent deployment, I was eight months pregnant and also had a 19 month little boy to contend with.
I hated that my husband would be missing his little boy growing up, and the birth of his daughter. I hated that I would be facing the next seven months alone. I moved closer to family but the real solace I received was over text, calls, and Facebook messages and posts from friends.
So much encouragement came from all over the country from spouses who had been exactly where I was. They knew what to say and how to say it.
People I hadn’t spoken to in years rallied around me to support me so I could, in turn, support our (now) two children.
I thought giving birth alone would be the hardest thing imaginable. It wasn’t. I constantly reminded myself of the countless women before me who had done the exact same thing.
So many who were only able to notify their husband by mail that their child had been born. They didn’t have the luxury of Skyping with their newborn just hours after birth.
Anticipating how much our children will miss my husband the next time he leaves is hard. They will be older and will surely understand that he’s not around but I don’t think they’ll understand why.
I’m not looking forward to the questions, tears, and sleepless nights--both theirs and mine.
But I know that I’ll have my milspouse sisters to lean on. I know that they will be there, without me even asking, to pick up the pieces that I didn’t even know had fallen. We all need each other, whether we like it or not. As military spouses, we are blessed to be in a community, near or far, with individuals who can relate to our situation.
And that I why I feel the pain of other’s deployments and the joy of their homecomings, I’ve been right where they are. And I will be there again.
Julie Jenkins is a full time mom and a full time Realtor, currently residing in Jacksonville, FL where she lives with her Navy husband and two children.
YDU: Why Didn’t You Tell Me is a weekly feature that gives our readers a space to tell their own story. If you have a story for us, please submit using the contact button above. All stories must be original and unpublished.