I run the usual gamut of emotions before each and every patrol. I get argumentative with my sailor beforehand, and I cry when I think of him leaving again. I get angry with him/the boat/the Navy when things would be much easier if he were home to help me manage them. I feel lonely on duty nights, reminded of the many long lonely nights ahead of me. I sometimes even wonder if our lives wouldn’t be much better if my sailor would simply leave the Navy. He would be home, every day, all the time, and I wouldn’t have to deal with the emotional toll deployments take on our whole family time and time again. It might be kinda nice, you know?
But without another (and another and another) deployment looming, I’m reminding myself that it isn’t all bad. In fact a few parts are downright awesome!
- Watching a submarine in motion is a beautiful thing. I am incredibly proud my sailor, and even though watching him sail away is difficult, knowing he proudly serves our country eases the pain. I feel so blessed to share those bittersweet moments with my kids and with a special group of spouses I am so proud to call my friends.
- Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Josh and I argue and fuss like any other couple, but it’s much easier to forget all the nit picky things you don’t like about your sailor (like maybe leaving the empty milk jug on the counter every single time, dear!!!) when you haven’t seen him in weeks or months. Distance really brings into focus what’s important!
- Mail drops. Of course I like sending care packages, but I really like receiving mail in return. It feels very special reading his private thoughts and knowing all the things that little envelope went through to get from his heart to mine.
- I’ve missed my boat friends! Some spouses have a tendency to shut out the world while their sailor is home to maximize every possible moment. I may or may not be guilty of this behavior (wink-wink), so when the boat leaves and
wethey come out to play it’s like reuniting with old friends all over again!
- Homecoming! I love dreaming about it! I love planning it! I love living it! Homecoming is one time when I feel a little sorry for civilian families that never get to experience that amazing feeling when you see someone you love, someone you’ve missed and worried about and longed for for months on end for the very first time. It’s kind of like having that first kiss one more time. Only I get to enjoy that moment over and over again!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not some Susie Sunshine who thinks everything is perfect. It isn’t. I know as well as anyone that there are bad days and that things will break as soon as he leaves, and I know all about the deployment blues. However, I also know that attitude is everything, and my deployment choices include either simply making it through each day or choosing to make each day beautiful.
Honestly? Some days I just barely make it through… The rest of the time though I choose to be mindful of all the blessings that each day brings no matter if my sailor is here to enjoy them with me or not.