Deployments may be a challenge for many. Stressful, lonely, unpredictable, and the list can go on! No matter whether you have been through one or five, we can all agree they surely are not the most pleasant part about military life.
Along with the not so pleasing feelings that deployment may bring, also comes the positive side of deployment. These may come in forms of a crisis, but you have the potential of learning valuable lessons, and gaining strength.
I have learned quite a few things throughout our multiple deployments and along the way have told myself each time, “I wish I knew this.”
Here is my top 5 list of What I Wish I Knew About Deployment:
No deployment is the same. Your spouse goes away the first time so the second time it should be the same, right? Wrong! I was in for a surprise the second time around, why would it be any different than the first one? We fail to realize that we are different people in different circumstances by the time the next deployment rolls around. For us, we were living in a new area and instead of one child, we now had two. I was in graduate school and working full-time from home with a toddler. Needless to say, things were different for sure, and with each hiccup deployment threw our way, there was always a different way to resolve.
It doesn’t get easier. You would think that if you conquered one deployment, the next would be easier enough to get through. Nope. At least for me, they got harder. Probably because of the anticipation of knowing what will happen. Again, all deployments are different, but they can have that same beginning of stressful, lonely and unpredictable times. Deployments or long separations can end in valuable lessons, strength and a tremendous joy that just fills your heart and soul.
Not all support comes from the military community. My biggest lifelines were my civilian community friends. Because I lived hours from the nearest installation and the other spouses in my husband’s unit were also hours away, I was surprised at the support I was receiving on the homefront. Support doesn’t need to me military affiliated.
You will miss the annoying things. The little annoying things that your spouse does normally will creep up on you and make you miss them more. Whether it is your spouse forgetting to take the trash out once in a while or if they leave their clothes lying on the floor right by the hamper. You know what? Taking out the garbage every day was a reminder that even though he may have forgotten from time to time, I truly appreciated the times he did. Not having clothes to pick up off the floor was a constant reminder that I had less laundry to do because he was not home. You miss the little things the most and learn to appreciate them.
There is a silver lining. I remember thinking to myself, “This day can’t possibly get any worse! This is horrible.” Those thoughts were just emotions in the moment. I didn’t feel that way every day; honestly, there were more good days than bad. I also looked at the positive side of deployment. Things like working on me or paying down debt. Things to help us keep moving and focused on the bigger picture, homecoming.
What things did you wish you knew about deployment? Share with us below.
About the blogger:
Angela Caban is an Army National Guard spouse, freelance writer, published author and branding expert. Her husband was one of the many soldiers impacted by the unprecedented activation of the National Guard in 2008. In 2010, she founded the Homefront United Network, a military spouse and family support blog created to assist spouses who do not live near an installation, but also focusing on bridging the gap between National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty spouses. She is also co-founder of SpouseTalks. As a branding and digital influencer, she has created content for A&E, Lifetime Network and PBS. She has an extensive background in Human Resources and Communications, with her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Human Resources. Angela resides in the beautiful Garden State of New Jersey with her husband and two children.
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