I grew up as a military brat. My dad was in the Air Force, and during Desert Storm he was gone quite a bit. After that, he frequently TDY’d for long periods of time. He was in the EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal), you know – the guys who get rid of bombs. I was used to him being in and out of our house and knowing there were two types of normal – one when my dad was home, and one when he was gone.
When my husband enlisted, I was originally opposed to it. I didn’t want to have to kiss him goodbye, and I didn’t want my kids to grow up while he came in and out of our lives. We both knew this was the best road for our family, though. We wanted a large family, we were young, we were already pregnant with Anthony, and we needed stability. The military doesn’t provide home stability, but it does provide job security, a community, and benefits that make it easier to breathe at times. So he enlisted. He left when Anthony was 3 months, and we reunited when Anthony was 8 months old. He deployed off and on, or TDY’d off and on for the next year or so, but it was okay. I had one child, I had a great group of friends, I was young and in shape, and I was determined to be a strong military wife. After our daughter was born, he left for 6 out of her first 8 months. I had severe PPD, I had a falling out with a friend, and my daughter was very high needs. Still, I conquered those deployments, and when my husband came home he transferred to the school house so he could further his career and stay home with us. It was supposed to be a 2 year assignment, but it turned into 4 years.
During that time, we had 3 more kids, my health began to fade as my EDS became more painful and apparent, and my friends PCSed or separated from the military. I was no longer a young nor new military spouse, and I found it harder to find people who were in the same stage of life as I was.
Now Chris is deployed again. The longest deployment we’ve had yet – 6 months. This isn’t like the other deployments, for me or my kids. (more…)