Wednesday, December 5, 2012

This deployment versus those deployments

So far we are 10 days into this deployment.  I have to tell you, doing this shit with kids sucks.  Now lets just get this out of the way now, I do a lot of single parenting and my kids are really used to not having dad around.  The thing is is that we are used to him coming and going, not just going. 

He's still gone a good 6 mths out of the year but he's back and forth, in and out of the house.  Saying goodbye for 7 mths hit them hard.

The oldest is pissed off and angry.  He thinks dad left because he wanted to leave, I mean who wouldn't want to go spend Arab Spring Part 2 in a third world craphole? He thinks he left because he would rather be there then here.  He's angry and he's taking it out on who ever is around at the moment.  Good times.

The middle just misses dad.  Especially at bedtime.  And dinner.  And sports practice.  And in the morning.  And during recess. And at snack.  And when he gets a haircut. 

You get the picture.

The third is by far the easiest.  At three he says he misses dad and then he noticed a blue bird fly by and he's good to go. 

If only they could all be like that.

Now that's not to say that its total misery around here, its not.  Just like for us adults, it comes in waves.  Life is going along and your having a great day and boom.  You miss em.  Just like that.  Only we are a little more prepared emotionally to deal with it. 

We've been very lucky, granted we deal with nonstop coming and going year after year, but we haven't done many "typical" deployments as a family.  This doing it with kids is a new thing to me. 

And its kicking my ass. 

However, I've been thinking.  I remember deployments in my life before kids {apparently I did indeed have a life before children!} and I remember laying on the couch and wallowing in my own self pity for days in the beginning.  {ahem weeks. Beginning weeks.}

This time, there is none of that.  And really... there is no time to feel sad for not getting emails or phone calls.  Someone has homework they need help with, there is a fight to breakup, someone got there hand stuck in a toilet. 

By the way... that can happen.

In some ways, I like this busy busy busy much better.  If it weren't for seeing my kids cry for daddy and knowing that feeling of separation, this deployment would be a cake walk.

So I'm torn... which way do you think is easier?

This is not to get into a "oh those people with kids have it so much harder" or "those without kids just can't understand".  I'm just curious what your opinion is on deployments.  Which have you experienced and what is your take on them.  Its important to remember that all deployments are not created equal.  Sometime are longer then other, some have great communications, some are to crap holes, some are to pretty nice places.

But please... weigh in!


  1. I only went through one deployment with Rob (13.5 months, midtour leave after the first 8 months) and we didn't have kids, but I remember wondering how it would be with kids. I remember thinking that in some ways I could see it being "easier" in that you're busier, and you can't really get away with too much wallowing since the kids need you. But then I thought that it must be so much harder, because you're basically a single parent and kids, you know, need things. Ultimately (and without any first-hand experience) I think my experience was easier because it was only me who I had to worry about, not little beings who need lots of attention and affection.

    I'm sorry about Dash 1 feeling the whole abandonment thing. As someone who still deals with shit like that from childhood (and who often feels like he does when Rob leaves) I know that it's such a minefield to maneuver. I hope you guys will settle into a routine soon, and also hope you hear from Flyboy soon. Lots of love and good thoughts.

  2. We're pretty new to the Navy, but while my husband was still in A School, I talked to a girl who told me that long deployments were easier than the coming and going. She had a newborn, so she hasn't experienced the kids separation yet, but I would say she was a seasoned Navy wife of a Chief. I still don't understand how she could feel that way. In my husband's command, it's shore duty, but he's home for 2 weeks, gone for 2 weeks to a month, home another 2 weeks, and gone again. It's harder for him than it is for our 8 month old. It doesn't phase me too much because I know he'll be home in a few weeks. It's things like making sure we got the Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, getting our little one on Santa's lap, and get our Christmas card pictures taken all in a short weekend that drives me bonkers. There are not enough hours to accomplish the important things while he's home. And we both hate feeling rushed, but it's so important to me that he experiences these first moments with our daughter. The day he tells me he will be gone for nearly, if not over, a year, I think I will lose my sanity. Actually, reading posts like this one makes me want to sign up for the one term and then out (even though I feel pretty strongly about him making a career out of it). We have a great friend whose 4 year old does not cope well with daddy leaving every two weeks. I can't relate, but it breaks my heart to watch my hubby miss things like her first crawl. Let's just say thank goodness for Skype/Facetime. I don't know where we would be without it (another reason I'm not looking forward to him going to a ship).

  3. We just came off a shore duty that lasted three years. We were promptly dumped into a separation due to a scheduled boat location move. It was kind of unclear how long it would last, but ended up being about three months. We had Skype for most of it, which is not at all typical for us since subs pretty much have sketchy email and that's it when they are gone, and that made it marginally easier, but, wow, I was surprised at how much harder on the boys it was now that they are three years older. I remember feeling like it was this huge burden when he would leave and they were tiny, but, really, they didn't notice that much, and were easily distracted from it. There's no ignoring it now. I'm really dreading a long run on the boat (which hopefully won't happen for a long time).

    Grr, this life is so complicated. Just when you think you've got it figured out, something else jumps out to complicate it. Like, your kids growing up!

  4. I was kind of miserable when Greg was first deploying, before we had kids. I didn't really know anybody in the area, I didn't have a job--I didn't really have a reason to do ANYTHING. Weeks could go by before I'd even get a handshake from someone, never mind a hug. It was really depressing. Now I at least have to DO things. It's more demanding on me and being a single parent sucks. I think having that sense of purpose, plus having done this a bunch of times, I have a better feel for how things are going to go. I handle deployments better now. It could be experience or maturity or just trying to hold it together for the kiddos. I don't know. The kids on the other hand--I think it is going to get harder and harder on them. Now I can still throw things at them to distract them but as you said, they grow out of that. They start realizing they're the only kid on the team without Dad at the game, or at their concert, or whatever else is important to them that the military is screwing them out of. I am NOT looking forward to that, especially the early stages of it where they are hurt that Dad is gone but not really mature enough to truly understand why things are the way they are.


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