Salute to Spouses Blog

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Deployment Time is Quiet Time

My husband’s current TDY trip didn’t start out so smoothly for my family. The flu has now completed two laps through every member of my household, the car did break down, my cell phone stopped working a week ago and that schedule I stick my family of five children so tightly to has been shredded. I feel like I haven’t slept in two weeks.

However, there is a silver lining to these weeks apart from my husband. It is something many military spouses won’t even admit to. Time away is … nice. And dare I say it, possibly healthy.

After 42 combined months in Iraq I, as many spouses did, grew accustomed to living alone. I learned how to become a single parent. I learned how to change the oil. By the last deployment, I was ripping the cabinets out of my kitchen and replacing them with only the guidance of my good friend Sarah and not a man in sight.

And then a wonderful thing happened. My husband came home. For good.

It was lovely. We had so much fun. The kids adored him. But weeks passed and He. Was. Still. Here.

Something felt very off. The up-tempo of the war had changed the nature of our relationship. We had become used to dealing with each other for hours, days or weeks. Months and years were a length of time we could no longer comprehend.

As many military couples do, we had to endure a period of re-adjustment and even learn to know each other again.

But now, when he says he is traveling for a few weeks, yes I dread trucking five kids to their activities alone and dealing with the inevitable bout of flu that passes through only while he’s away. But secretly, my mind is also spinning as I plan all the time I’m going to have alone.

I can finally watch all the DVR shows I have stocked away. Hello, “Hoarders”, here I come! Seriously, I’ve tried, I can’t look away.

I can take a break in the kitchen and make kid food every night for three weeks – hot dogs, mac n cheese, tacos! No more whining children, every night is a winner.

And for my wild weekend nights, after the kids are tucked soundly in bed, I get to bust out the craft supplies and utterly cover the dining room table. And I even stay up ‘til midnight, listening to only the music I like. 

Granted, this TDY has held very little time for me, though I did doze off a bit during the last bout of my kids’ midnight vomiting.

However, I am a firm believer that a little bit of time apart can be time well spent. There’s nothing wrong with spending some time alone to do the things you enjoy.  And when it’s over, it’s amazing how much you realize you missed them and appreciate each other. 

I know I do.

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