As you know if you have been following, I am in the "reality has struck, give me a few weeks to be crazy before he goes" stage of deployment. I'm over emotional, highly sensitive, selfish, and totally lacking grace at the moment...so while most comments I get are of the "I don't know how you do it" variety, I have already gotten the "you knew what you were getting into, deal with it and get over yourself" type. (Insert what GI Joe affectionately calls "the look"...ya know, the one with the one raised eyebrow.) REALLY, you are seriously going to say that to me? (Which means you have probably already said it to some other military family member who might actually care about your opinion.) Everyone is entitled to their opinion, however, try to have a bit of sensitivity, I by no means want your pity, or even your sympathy, but a little empathy would be nice. I'm not perfect, I don't expect you to be, nor do I expect you to understand when you have never experienced this, nor will you, but if you ask how I am doing and I am honest with you just nod your head and pat my arm rather than berate me.
Let me clarify something; Yes, GI Joe did not join until after 9/11, therefore I "knew" he would deploy, probably multiple times before the end of his enlistment. I did a brief stint, before a knee injury took me out of the game, with the US Navy, my sister is retired Army, my father was a bubble head (Navy submariner)...while not a military brat, I am not completely naive to the military either. But you know something, it still sucks.
I've mentioned a military spouse blog I read, one of the contributing authors is a ANG wife also, she has a post that is a pretty good explanation of where I am right now. I am extremely proud of my hubby, I am not 'angry' he is going, but it still makes it difficult. The only reference point I have is a horrible first deployment which the girls & I 'survived' and a '1 year TDY' we tolerated. I want more than than that, I want to do more than just survive, I want to thrive. I know God will give me the strength to do what needs to be done, to be superwoman if necessary; however, the fact remains, my best friend, partner in crime, my confidant and lover will be leaving for over a year. He is the only adult interaction I have some days. I have to watch little hearts break as their daddy leaves, worry when they hear the news that we will have to have one of "those discussions" about daddy's safety. Its not easy.
I know there are millions of single parents out there who do it everyday, who did not have a choice in the matter. Those parents are awesome, and I envy the ones who seem to have it down...I will never get there, I will always have chaos, no matter how many plans and back up plans I have in place. We will have to resettle our lives without GI Joe, knowing that whatever routine we get down will only be completely dismantled upon his return home as said routine will not click until just before end of deployment. There is always the fear of injury or worse lingering, and a new one this time around since both girls are a bit older: "what if daddy forgets us?" Tell me you know how to handle that one?
There are many things in our lives we think we"know" what we are getting into: marriage, kids, etc. We plan, we prepare, none the less, when reality hits we struggle. We have to readjust our perceptions, we reevaluate our plans and aspirations. Even when we have 'gone through it' before, every child, every deployment, every experience is entirely new. We may be going through it with others, yet it will be uniquely our own experience affected by our individual circumstances.
So in response to that wonderfully supportive comment: Yes, I 'knew' what I was getting into, no I am not whining about it, okay, maybe a little but then I'll be ok. I'll deal, just like I always deal, God will give me strength and wisdom and Lord willing, grace to keep my sarcasm to myself. I did not ask for, nor do I want your pity and I will try to be there for you if you ever need me, even when you 'knew' what you were getting yourself into.