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This is deployment

Deployment is never fun. It's not fun for the person being deployed nor the loved ones they're leaving behind.  Deployment isn't better or worse depending on the branch of service, rank, location, nor if you're active duty, reserve or guard status.  It's not even better or worse depending on the length of the deployment - neither the length they tell you it's going to be nor the length it actually ends up being.

Here's what deployment is...

Deployment is going somewhere far away - somewhere that may or may not be classified.  It is time zones away from loved ones with sketchy Internet connections and even worse phone connections.

Deployment is tears - both adult and kid.  It is anger.  It is fear.  It is worry.  It is sadness.

Deployment is meals spent without loved ones - often times just scraped together because you don't have the energy or means to get a real meal.  It is figuring out how to change the batteries in your smoke detector at the top of a 10' ceiling at 2am with the baby finally sleeping down the hall.  It is dealing with the oil changes or worse.  It is figuring out how to fix a broken garbage disposal and dishwasher - at the same time.

Deployment is being both mom and dad at the same time - or simply trying to be a mom or dad from miles away.  It's trying to make every minute of the phone, Skype, or Facetime call.  It's sending messages through Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram...or any messenger that gets the message through.  It's waiting...and waiting...and waiting...for the return message.

Deployment is kids going through separation issues of sadness, anger, depression, rage.  It is kids - and you - not sleeping because of fears of what could be happening on the other side of the world.

Deployment is trying to stay busy while trying to find the right balance to not losing your mind.  Deployment is failing at this balance at least once...a day.

Deployment is messy.  It's trying to keep order but, more times than not, failing.  It's messy in the car, the house, the yard, and your mind.

Deployment is uncertainty.  It's nerve wracking because they keep changing the date when you're whole again.  It's return planes breaking down multiple times on the way home.  It's higher priorities on transportation and "the needs of X branch" somewhere else in the world.  It's fear of the uncertainty that you'll see your loved ones again.

Deployment is isolating. It doesn't matter if you live on base, off base, in a small town, big city, near or far away from family and friends. It is being uncomfortable with the situation you're forced to face without the daily support from the one person you most need support.

Deployment is figuring out how to survive.  It is putting on the front that all is well because you need to have others think you are strong so that you can try to believe what they say to you is actually true and make it another hour.

Deployment is getting frustrated and sometimes angry when someone tells you they don't know how you do it because, truthfully, you don't know either.  It is continuing to "do it" because you wouldn't trade your loved one or your life for anyone or anything else.

Deployment is getting a crash course in OPSEC in order to keep you and your family safe.  It is understanding that there are true threats out in the world that want to hurt you and your family.  It is learning to cope with these threats and to be observant of everything that goes on around you.  It is not sleeping through the night because you wake to every noise - or the 1am false alarm of the new system you installed.

Deployment is handling bills, doctor appointments, sickness, injury, school, work, kids, parents, in-laws, legal issues, Tricare, Finance, packing, childbirth, and more all on your own.

Deployment is finding out who your support system is because they're the ones who didn't call and ask what you needed - they just showed up and forced you to take their food, help, coffee, and wine (sometimes all at the same time).

Deployment just...is.

Most importantly, deployment is not just the military member.  It is the whole family: mom, dad, kids, and pets.  It is not the homecoming - neither surprise nor known.  It is not the YouTube videos showing the happy ending because that's really just the beginning of another dirty stage of deployment - reintegration.

Deployment is not a testament to who we are as people, but rather is a situation that has the potential to either strengthen or weaken us as individuals. Deployment is not the definition of being a military member or family.  It is simply one part of the job.  And, deployment is not always war, although war may be the reason for the deployment.

This is deployment.

Comments

  1. Well written Katie. You are amazing and I am so grateful that you are my son's wife and mother of
    J1 and J2.Love you bunches!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well written Katie. You are amazing and I am so grateful that you are my son's wife and mother of
    J1 and J2.Love you bunches!

    ReplyDelete

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