My husband came home today after being deployed for only 4 months. To say the least, I was VERY, VERY excited!! I was on my way to the airport this morning when I got a call letting me know that it would be another 6 hours until I saw my husband. The news didn’t make me very happy, and I wanted to cry, but he was still coming home. I’m not a very patient person, but I found things to do during the day to keep me busy until I had to drive to the airport again. I stood behind a glass partition along with about 30 other people waiting for their loved ones. Waiting, waiting, waiting.
After 20 minutes of standing around talking to some of Steve’s coworkers and running into a fellow blogger (who would have thought?), he finally came out.
I wanted to jump through the glass and hug and kiss him so badly, but at the risk of getting shot at or tackled by other military members, I changed my mind. I waved frantically as we both mouthed, “I love you” to each other. After a very long 5-7 minutes of him getting his luggage and going through customs, we finally met outside.
This week had been the hardest by far out of the entire 4 months that he was gone. I missed him so much, but I couldn’t believe our four months apart were up already! It seems like it was just a little while ago that he left! You want to know how I got through the deployment without developing depression and feeling sorry for myself? I lived by these tips:
Survival Guide For Spouses of Deployed Service Members
1. Set Goals! Honestly, it was majorly convenient for my husband to be deployed for most of the spring semester. I was able to focus on school and marathon training. I ended up getting all A’s and exceeding my expectations with my marathon! Work out more. Hey, you’ve got more time now! Focus on being “hot” for your honey when he/she gets back.
2. Use this time for yourself! Ever watch Sex in the City when they talked about secret single behavior? Well, in case you haven’t, it is just the things you do when nobody is around like eating saltine crackers with jelly while reading a magazine (Carrie’s SSB). I got to go to bed when I wanted, paint (or not paint) my nails when I wanted, and hang out with my friends when I wanted. Now, I can do all of those things when he is around, but it was nice to not have to consult someone else to see if we want to hang out with friends or stay in.
3. Volunteer. Sometimes, when you are feeling empty, volunteering is the best thing to do. Now, you have the time. Look into volunteering doing something that you love. I taught spin class through the Red Cross at my gym. Every time a person got done with my class, they would thank me for my time and effort, and it really helped me feel like I was (and still) doing something worthwhile.
4. Get into a routine. Schedule your day around your goals, time for yourself, and volunteering. If you have a block of time that is 5 hours long, and you are coming home to an empty house after work with nothing in mind of what you are going to do, you are more likely to focus on the fact that you are ALONE. I’m a loaner by nature, but I still love hanging out with friends. I did have some lonely nights, but I just started studying, working out, taking a nice, long quiet bubble bath, calling a friend or family member, or watching a movie that I know he would be complaining all the way through. It helped, I swear!
5. Get repairs done before your spouse leaves! If you don’t know how to fix certain things (like me), this is a huge burden if you don’t! I came home to Germany without any heat after being in the states for 3 1/2 weeks. I was bundled up for 2 days sans a shower (our heating runs on only hot water) until I was able to get ahold of the hubby, and he could tell me how to fix it. It would have been a lot easier if I had just paid attention the first two times he tried to show me before he left!
6. Surround yourself with support! If you have the tendency to get depressed when your other half is gone (or even if you don’t), surround yourself with family and friends who love you and are fun to hang out with. I went to go visit my family and they came to visit me during Steve’s deployment. I also had a great support system here in Germany with friends who cared about me, shared my same interests, and most of all, had a sense of humor.
7. It’s okay to cry. Sometimes. I cried a handful of times while Steve was gone, but most of the time, I chose NOT to feel sorry for myself! Yes, that is a choice! I basically cried, then got over it. Finding the humor in the fact that it took me 30 minutes to get a bottle of balsamic vinegar open when the hubs could have gotten it open in 2 seconds definitely helped. And yes, I still have a bottle of POM in my fridge that I bought a month ago that I couldn’t get open.
8. Keep it positive. Please don’t cry when you talk to your spouse when they are deployed. I tried not to cry during our phone calls, and I also tried to not complain about my horrible day to him. Your deployed spouse does not need more stress added onto the probability of being shot, blown up, or kidnapped in addition to being away from his/her family. Trust me, he/she doesn’t need to hear you crying about that parking ticket you got, and how it “ruined” your entire day.
9. Take responsibility and don’t “blame” his/her job. I knew Steve was in the military when I met him. I knew what I was getting into when I married him. I will NEVER get angry with him over his job. I have seen countless spouses do this, and it drives me crazy! Our last year in Tucson, he was gone 280 days that year. I chose to be busy at work and hang out with friends and family. He actually got a call to rescue some hikers on Mt. Lemon on my birthday when we were on our way to the restaurant, and we turned the car right back around to drop me off at home. Did I complain? NO! This is his job, and things like that can always be rescheduled.
10. Remember that you were single once. You are a beautiful, strong, capable woman (or man ). You can handle anything that is thrown your way! You were perfectly self-sufficient before you met your spouse, and you are now!
(My hair was very angry today and attacking everyone as you can see in the pics! haha)
Around the Blogosphere:
- Tea talks about how all of her training and eating right actually keeps her from aging before her years.
- Caitlin has a great first half marathon race recap that involved stormy weather and a bomb scare.
Thanks for all of your support while he was gone!! Ever faced a deployment or your boyfriend/spouse being gone for a long time for work? How do YOU deal?