Today is Day 1.
The first day of this deployment. Familiar in a sort of comforting way, but also strange and surreal.
You see, this deployment is my husband’s choice. It is a civilian deployment for his everyday job- an electrical engineer at a company that makes military radios. He is installing them in vehicles in Afghanistan. He didn’t have to go.
He chose to go so that we have a chance to get ahead financially. A choice that he felt he couldn’t say no to. I feel awful that soldiers who are putting their lives in more danger are making so much less money. It just doesn’t seem right. My husband says, “hey I served, I don’t feel bad that I am taking this opportunity.” But still somehow it bothers me.
He is not responsible for the lives of 100 people this time, only his own. Later in the day I realized that I feel like this is cheating. Last time I felt guilty that he spent most of his time on base and rarely had to go outside the line. When meeting other wives, whose husbands were in further outposts and doing more dangerous jobs, I never told them how lucky I felt that most of the time, I was pretty sure my husband was sitting at a desk, a desk in Afghanistan, but still a desk and not kicking down doors or looking for IED’s.
If I felt guilty last time when he was serving as a soldier, its no wonder I feel so strongly like we are cheating now. I will be surprised if I don’t get into some sort of fight with my mother-in-law this year. She loves to get on her podium and proclaim to the world how hard she has it because her son is gone. Sorry, not my style. even more so this time. She was just posting some crap on Facebook (a picture of my kid wearing an Army hat) and commenting that my husband was leaving Sunday; to remember the sacrifices soldiers make.
Sorry lady (and I use that term loosely), I don’t even know where to start. I’m not usually a freak about letting people know he is out of town, but I haven’t put it all over Facebook yet. Its really my business to share that my husband is leaving for a year. Thanks for putting that out there. If they are our friends/family that matter, they already know. After reading that, I sent her a brochure about Operational Security (OPSEC) and the things that are appropriate to post online. I think she was pissed, but I don’t care.
And that reminder about the sacrifices that soldiers make?
Again, he is not going as a soldier.
I feel it is disrespectful to those service members over there to put them in the same sentence.
Last time I had ways to show I was proud of him – blue star flag, wearing his unit pin, etc. this time I feel as if I have none of that. Luckily, I have my battle buddies, the wives who banded together with me the last time when our husbands were all deployed. But still, it’s weird because people realize that he must be getting paid a lot. It makes me feel greedy and ungrateful for all that we do have. It makes me feel guilty that I am excited we will be able to pay off the house.
I have been trying to hold it together for a few months now. When I do this, I give the impression to people that I am a cold-hearted bitch. Because I usually am very practical and pragmatic about deployments. What good does crying all the time do? Do they just expect me to fall apart because he is leaving or gone?
The first time, I said to myself and them “Someone has to go. When some guys have to go 3-4 times, who am I to think my husband deserves not to go at all?” and we were both okay with that deployment.
We were tired of waiting for the Army to pick a time to send him. And at least he was going with his own unit. This time, we are both okay with the sacrifice because we are hoping to pay off the house. Both times, it feels like people didn’t understand how we could be okay with this. Sure, we will miss each other, sure it will be hard. (I think it is hardest on the kids) but I am proud to be an independent wife and I want to teach my girls self reliance too. We never have been the type of couple that has to go everywhere together.
Since the Army has been a part of our relationship since I met him, we are pretty used to the short-term separations. Cell phones and email has made it easier. When I first met him, he didn’t have a cell phone and had to wait in line to use a pay phone. So I got pretty used to not hearing from him. Also, as an only child, sometimes I relish my time that I get to myself. My new job is great for that as it allows me to help other military families, yet get some alone time in the car traveling.
i don’t usually get upset about deployment in public, and I don’t usually get upset about it at home, because you see, with two kids, two dogs and a house to take care of, I have more things to do than wallow in self pity. So usually the magnitude of it all doesn’t really hit me until the night before he leaves.
Yesterday, I had to drive him to the airport in the late afternoon and it was my day that I allowed myself to be sad. I let the girls have cookies for dinner, eat in the living room and watch a movie while I laid in bed and watched my own TV shows.
This morning I had to move past that and get my daughter on the bus. Somehow I was reminded of the song “This Too Shall Pass” by Ok Go. I couldn’t stop listening to it today.
Somehow it made things better.
I know that guilty feeling. My husband was a range coach, state side for his last two years in. He volunteered every time his battalion asked for volunteers. They continually told him no.
I was so relieved. And so ashamed of being relieved.
When he got out, he took a job that had him gone for those first 8 months, and then only home on weekends for the year after that. And people acted like I was a witch for not being distraught.