There is something about those Holiday Deployments. They create so many new opportunities to learn and grow as a military couple – develop as a parent to a military child – and opportunities to create and strengthen bonds with friends. How can something be so excruciatingly painful, yet surprisingly optimal at the same time?
With a holiday deployment, you have benchmarks – things to look forward to or to get past. The deployment is broken up into smaller chunks with periods of time where you know you can choose to either be around others – or choose to be alone.
The first deployment I ever went through, I was pregnant and my oldest son was barely a year old. Here is the timeline:
- Create a deployment bucket list with help from friends and other spouses that had been through it before. Initially mine was just 1) Give birth 2) Survive.
- Husband deployed
- Halloween spent at home with friends.
- 14 month old skipped walking, and started running!
- Second son was born. My friends “coached” me through delivery. Really my friend Gabbie just cracked jokes the entire time – it was also the first time I’ve seen her cry – or show emotion other than anger or disgust 🙂
- My friend Kim brought me my first coffee in 9 months…Starbucks <3
- In-Laws came in to town.
- Mom came in to town.
- Thanksgiving. We didn’t have to cook because friends and members of the FRG brought us dinner.
- I started blogging (didn’t think I would be a business owner 6 years later because of that small blog!)
- Family flew in to spend two weeks with me
- The Flu of 2007 – TERRIBLE
- Unit helped organize a tree delivery for me and other spouses who had just had babies.
- Christmas Eve and Day spent with family – not my choice, but glad it happened the way it did.
- New Years Eve – checked out early.
- New Years Day spent with friends.
- Brother flew in to spend HIS birthday with me.
- Bronchitis of 2008 – Ugh.
- Deployment Over-the-Hump FRG lunch – This day I connected with so many of the other wives whose husbands were gone. I walked from my car holding my 17 month old in one arm and my baby in a car seat in the other. One of my now dear friends, Beth, ran up to me and grabbed the carseat, another friend grabbed my older son. I felt like crying – I said “I didn’t expect…” and Beth cut me off and said “you didn’t expect us to bend over backwards for you, did you?” But they did – and that never ended.
- Surprisingly un-lonely Valentines day – my two boys were the cutest Valentines.
- Drove down to Seattle for a week with in-laws. First trip with two babies in cars.
- The realization that there was only one month left and I needed to start the beautification process.
- Deployment homecoming checklist downloaded.
- Easter Egg Hunt with unit families.
- Reunion workshops on base.
- Panic attack avoided.
- Husband came home. Met his little boy…and the past 6 months were a blur.
Out of the 4 deployments I’ve experienced, 3 were Holiday deployments. The only Late Spring/Summer deployment I experienced was long, uneventful – except for 4th of July – and missing all of the elements of the Holiday deployment that make people come together and get through a hard situation.
This Holiday season, I am blessed to have my husband home with us. We will hunker down in our own home with an open door for anyone that wants to come by. It is our turn to help the other families whose husbands or wives are gone – and we’re ready for that commitment.
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