One time a friend of mine sat in my living room tearful and sad and missing her sailor on their first deployment. He had been gone a few weeks. I sat with her. I nodded. I patted her hand and hugged her. I felt her pain.
I said, “I understand. Josh has been gone for over two months now.”
And she looked up at me through tear-stained eyes and said, “But that’s nothing! You guys only do like three months, right? I could do three months with my hands tied behind my back!”
I didn’t quite feel her pain after that.
One thing that irks me to no end among military spouses is the argument over who has it the worst. My sailor’s job is harder. Our crew is gone longer. My soldier’s deployment is ten times worse than your sailor’s patrol will ever be. I’ve heard them all, and I think they are all EQUALLY stupid.
Does it really matter if your husband is gone longer? I get it. A year is much more single mom time than three months. It’s many more broken dishwashers or flat tires. It’s 365 lonely nights compared to my 90. Do you win?
Well, friend, my husband may be ONLY gone three months, but in those three, I never get to speak directly to him (no phones under the ocean, you see). I will never get to Skype or Facebook. I will never get to visit foreign ports with him. We hope for a mail drop or two and pray for email, but in our just three months, any communication at all is a privilege not a guarantee. Do I win?
On the other hand, at the end of three months I WILL have my sailor home again. Other military spouses say good-bye to husbands and wives headed for incredibly dangerous places. They’ve got the lonely nights, the broken stuff, AND significant time apart. PLUS, they are not just praying for an email or phone call; they’re praying that their soldier comes home AT ALL. Do they win?
No, they don’t, nor do you, and neither do I. Nobody wins because we’re supposed to be in this together. Supporting one another through the hard times (no matter how hard), the long nights (no matter how many), and the good times (no matter how few and far between). Nobody wins because it isn’t a competition.
You want to win? Sign up for a 5k.
You want to brag? Accomplish something.
You want to feel special? Do something, anything, that makes you feel special and go about your day! There’s no need to bring me down while you’re at it.
My deployment is hard no matter what you think, and I’m sure your’s sucks, too. Instead of competing to see who’s the biggest loser, let’s work together to see how we can make it all suck less. Because I do care. I do want to be here for you. I will hold your hand and hug you and give what I can.
What I won’t do is be put down in an argument I don’t believe in anyways.