"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger..."
As I opened up Google Chrome to write this blog post, I found myself singing “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson. I would be lying if I said that the last few months have been easy. My husband left the states in early October and it feels like since the moment his plane took off and crossed over international waters, things at home have been chaotic times 892 million! Okay, I’m being a little dramatic, because things could always be worse. But, things have been pretty nonstop for me and the kids.
From health issues and emergency dentist visits to school changes and family events, the deployment curse has certainly taken its toll, but I’m still standing! If you’re in a situation where you think this is all too much, just know, you can do it. I’m thankful for the friends and family who told me that through every little bump as we adjusted to life without our main man at home with us to swing at life’s curve balls.
What I've learned from the deployment curse...
There is no hiding the fact that I have had my fair share of emotional break downs, even before this deployment. I’ve yelled, I’ve cried, I’ve taken the emotional toll out on others. But, at the end of the day, I’ve learned that during this trying time, the only thing you can control is yourself and how you react to the situation you’re facing.
The only thing you can control is yourself
For example, when we were getting ready to run out the door to take the dog to the boarder and Camden (my 4 year old) decided to wrestle with our dog and they hit heads and he ended up cracking his molar in half, five hours before we were supposed to fly up to Maryland for my brother’s wedding, I lost it. I cried and called my Dad and I was super emotional and stressed. But, I packed up the car, dropped the dog off at the boarder, called the dentist and they fit us into their schedule and ended up extracting the tooth, doing a minor root canal and putting in a crown. When the dentist told me he needed it right then and there and he could have it done within an hour to make sure we could get back home to get our bags and go to the airport, I thanked him, hugged my little boy tight and told him he could do it as he walked back to get his tooth fixed.
The dentist was wonderful and got it done faster than he thought and we were back on the road home, learning a lesson about wrestling with the dog, and grabbing our bags to head to the airport. I didn’t get to clean the house like I wanted before we left (it’s something I’ve always done, because god forbid something happen and someone has to come into your house when you’re away and see the wreck you live in) but I accepted it and ran out the door with the kids and we made it to the airport with time to spare. If only the me after it all could have told the me 2 hours prior that it was all going to work out… but that’s how you learn during this crazy time.
Family and Friends will understand
I’ve also learned that family will always understand. Five days after Drake left the states as I was leaving the dermatologist’s office where I had to have a very questionable mole removed for further testing, I got a call from my mom to let me know that my grandmother had passed away at 90 years young. Her health had deteriorated over the last few years due to dementia and it took its final toll. It hurt my heart to be so far from family during such a trying time. I had already had plans to come up with the kids a few weeks later for my brother’s wedding and traveling twice in less than a month with toddlers would have been really hard. But, my family was the first to tell me it was okay if I wasn’t there since we already had plans to travel for the wedding and we had a lot going on at home as well. Kate (my 1 year old) was scheduled to get a special Aerodigestive procedure 2 days after my grandmother passed and they didn’t want us to miss that or do it and then have to travel with a baby who had just gone through a surgery. Side note, the deployment curse hit harder when we went for the surgery and after 3 hours, they told us we couldn’t do it because Kate had a low grade fever from teething that went away that afternoon. Deep down, my grandmother would have hated the fact that I traveled even once, on an airplane, with two kids under 4. She was such a worrier and I get it from her to this very day. I miss her every day and the memories of her I forever hold in my heart because she was the most fun lady you’ll ever meet. Her smile lit up a room and I’m so lucky I got to spend the time I spent with her. Moral of the story, don’t feel like you have to explain anything to family during a deployment. They get it and they understand.
Talking it out with the right people helps
It’s so important to have a sounding board; friends and family to hear you out when you just want to say “I don’t think I can do this” or “I’m going crazy, why is everything going wrong?” At the beginning I didn’t want to bother anyone with these things. I kept it all in, but it just made me blow up. It’s so much better to talk to someone and build a tribe of people near and far who you can talk to about what’s happening. Struggles throughout your life will teach you more about yourself, but you’ll also learn who is by your side. During a deployment or a trying time with the military or any rough time in general, your forever friends will really shine through and be there, no questions asked.
It’s also important to make friends with other military wives. They don’t have to be going through the same deployment to understand what’s happening and how you’re feeling.
I’ve joined the following Facebook Groups to feel more connected to Moms and Spouses like me… Check them out!
What if you don't want to talk to anyone?
- Maybe you just want some “me time” to let it all sink in and think about it and figure out why you’re feeling so upset about something that just happened and how you can overcome it…
- Write it all down
- Get a journal, start a blog
- Record it
- Use your smart phone to record messages to yourself. You don’t even have to save them, you can delete them when you’re done. Or you can save them and listen to them in those future moments where you just needed to remind yourself you made it through that rough time and you will make it through this rough time.
- Get creative
- Adult coloring books aren’t just for those lazy nights with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate or wine… they’re therapy. Invest in a few and color when you need to just think things out and you’ll never know where your brain can go when you’re adding a little creativity into the mix.
I could go on and on about the ups and downs and how things just hit one after the next, but I’m learning to move on and grow from each wave that comes. And I hope that by sharing how I dealt with it, it can help you too.