People tend to say to you outside of the military community, “you knew what you were getting into.” I come from a family of military officers and military brats, but even I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
No matter how many stories were told over a holiday dinner, nothing could prepare me for falling in love with a Marine. People that can’t relate to deployment and say, “Suck it up buttercup, this is the life you chose”, I explain, “That’s like buying car insurance and knowing how to feel in an accident.”
While in no comparison to others in our community that have been through many more than I, I wanted to share my experience thus far to bring hope and support to those of you about to experience your first or next deployment. I hope it can help so you will reach out.
Here are the lessons I have learned:
1. Calculate your time spent together
My husband and I have been married over 4 years and in that time, he has deployed twice in 2 years. In addition to that, he has his “work-ups”, “going to the field,” and duty. Meaning, even when he was “here” – he wasn’t really here. We calculated it and we’ve spent about 2 years total together.
The day we checked in after a cross country PCS, he was pulled to the field for 2 weeks. Say what? At that moment, I realized how spoiled I was at our last base. Home every night, same schedule, and I dare say, even predictable.
I learned quickly, that our new fleet life was going to be something I could never have been prepared for.
2. Look on the bright side
I learned to be me again with the fact I was in love this time, not alone and single. It was such a comforting feeling of independence I had never expected. I had always been an independent business woman, but now tasked with more responsibility- and I embraced it.
I also learned to never expect … well anything. I now enjoy ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ challenges ie. moving, job change, husband home vs. away. I am not going to sit here and tell you anything is easy by any means, but the sooner you let go, the faster you can get back to you.