Spouse Confession: I'm the Worst at Deployment Rituals

I read a meme the other day that said something like, “I want to be a Pinterest Mom, but I’m more of an Amazon Prime type of Mom.” Replace mom with “Army Wife” and slap my picture on it because that’s me and my deployment rituals.

Last year during my soldier’s deployment to Iraq I ran out of things to send him within three weeks of him leaving. He was gone for six months.

I have to admit, I seriously admire the military spouses among us who excel at the ever elusive “box." It becomes an entire family affair with the kids putting in special notes, gifts and choosing a theme. I’ve seen the lengths you’ve gone to on Pinterest and might have even snapped a photo of it and sent it to my husband with a message along the lines of, “One of these days your wife will get around to being this good!” I imagine your husband (or wife, for the male military spouses among us!) opening up those delightful boxes with extreme joy and appreciation for you breaking up monotonous days that surely feel a bit like the movie Groundhog Day.

This kind of thing is a talent I do not possess.

Thankfully, I know from talking to other spouses that I’m not alone. Some of us are brilliantly creative. It’s how you show your appreciation for what your service member does for your family and for our country. There’s a subset of us, however, that just aren’t that great at the crafty stuff. We all have areas in which we shine and deployment boxes (or anything that involves a glue gun) are just not my gift.

Have I said thank goodness for Amazon? Because ordering online is definitely a place where I shine.

I’m also horrible at answering my phone in general and that does not change during a deployment. I miss calls all the time. Why is it that their availability to talk always coincides with us being busy and not hearing the phone? Social media is a complete savior in this area. Whether we can actually hear their voice that day or not, we can send the latest pictures, funny stories and notes from the kids.

I know that there are some of you out there reading this that are rolling your eyes and thinking “With all your husband does for our country, the least you can do is send him a box and answer your phone."  To some extent that is true; I have definite room for improvement in this area. What is also true is that whether we want it to or not, life goes on when our service members deploy…and now the bulk of that “life” -- the day to day responsibilities of your family -- just doubled for the person on the home front.

For every spouse that excels at mailing her Marine packages, there’s another who wakes up at 2:45 am every morning to talk to her Airman.

Somewhere there’s a Navy wife who is celebrating getting her kids to bed on time sans tears (hers or the kids) and there’s an Army wife who is rocking her weight loss goals while her soldier is gone.

The point is that we all get through these tough separations the best we can. We throw ourselves into doing what makes us feel as if we have it “together”- and together looks different to all of us. My together means that while he may not get a cute St. Patrick’s Day themed package, he can rest well knowing that his family is happy, healthy and thriving.

And now that I think of it… the fact that our loved ones are returning to us knowing we’ve taken care of what’s most important to them (their family) means that, perhaps, we aren’t that bad at this whole deployment thing after all.

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