What the heck is she talking about?
Stay with me for a second.
(Apologies to my male readers – this may be a little out there for you.)
Just think about this for a minute – Isn’t pre-deployment kinda like being pregnant?
The day you find out your pregnant, everything changes right?
Just like the day you find out your spouse’s unit will be deploying.
Suddenly. Everything. Changes.
There is a timeline of things that need to be accomplished before the big day.
Paperwork, household organization, legal and financial planning.
Trying not to think of the inevitable.
And then the last few weeks when you are SO DONE with PREPARING!
Why can’t my baby just BE HERE ALREADY!
How many times are you going to repack your bag – just GO ALREADY!
Let’s get this thing STARTED!
Even though deep down we are all afraid of the unknown…
Taking this one step further – have you ever thought about deployment like labor and delivery?
Long or short in length, they are all completely unique experiences for everyone.
For me, each of my deliveries were natural – long, test of endurance, marathons.
Many of my friends had epidurals, c-sections, or even adopted their baby as newborns.
Deployments or separations for families are all completely unique experiences.
How long have you been married? How many children do you have?
How long ago did you move? Is this the first, second… tenth separation?
One thing they all have in common, is an endpoint.
The baby is coming. The deployment will not last forever.
(Side Note: Yes I realize this could go a few ways with severe injuries and tramatic events,
so please do not think I am being insensitive to wounded warrior spouses and gold start families -
this post is more to explain what my experiences have been.)
Then the Kodak moment arrives.
A beautiful, disgusting, squirming, bundle of joy is placed in your arms.
Our beloved baby has arrived safe and sound!
My soldier marches into the gym, and after what seems like an eternity,
he is striding across the room to hold me in his arms. My beloved has arrived safe and sound!
Quick! Someone take a picture!
I want to remember this perfect moment!
The moment I have been preparing for, praying for, waiting for… IS FINALLY HERE!
And then the nurse comes in and says “Ok hunny I just need to massage your belly a little to stop the bleeding”
My blissful smile turns to a look of horror and pain “Um… *gasp* Do you have to do it that HARD?”
She looks at me like a like a child whining about peeling off a band-aid.
Really? This bothers you?
Just like that first argument over how my husband is SUPPOSED to load the dishwasher.
He looks at me like I’ve got another eye blinking at him from the middle of my forehead.
Really? This bothers you?
No one told me someone would grind their fingers into my belly after delivering a baby!
No one told me I would argue with my beloved after he returned home!
WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME?!?!!
Oh yeah… You’re right…
I probably wouldn’t have believed you…
Because some things, we just need to learn through real life experience.
Having a baby is an experience that is hard to put into words.
The things it does to your body.
The things it does to your life.
The things it does to your short term memory abilities.
Much in the same way, deployment and reintegration are hard to completely explain.
They have completely changed my personal definitions for endurance, commitment, and family.
One thing I can say, is although reality bites sometimes – the outcome is truly worth it.
Those sleepless nights won’t last forever.
All those yucky diapers will soon fade from your memory.
You’ll find yourself humming along with those annoying musical toys.
Just as reintegration can get really bumpy – keep going. keep communicating.
No one recovers from a marathon overnight.
Remember to be thankful for the time you have together.
Carve out a new path as a family for the future.
And try to remember to savor those baby toes while you can.