Many months ago I read this post from They Call me Dependent. It reminds the readers of what life was like when we were the new spouse. That the first anything was traumatic and that others’ reactions, particularly those seeming to have a good time, couldn’t be right. But more importantly it reminded me that we’ve all been there and as time goes we learn and change and cope. And around that time I also realized that I was becoming that seasoned spouse.
It only took me about two and a half years but I think I’ve become a seasoned spouse. Or at least I’m feeling more seasoned. It really hit me at a unit event a few weeks later talking to some new spouses. There were so many things that came up that I remember worrying about like crazy just a year ago and now…well not so much. And it was hard for me to articulate that it wasn’t something to spend all their time worrying about.
Do I still worry about our life in the Army, James when he’s gone, and what lies ahead? Yes. Do I still learn new things every day? Yep. But it all feels different. I feel different about all of the things the Army throws my way then I did even a year ago.
A reader wrote in asking for tips to make it through a deployment when you aren’t married and/or the unit doesn’t have a strong (or any sort of) support group, such as an FRG.
While I was lucky and have been a part of great FRGs where I made great friends, each FRG is different, and it may not provide the support you need or want. And that’s okay.
I’ve reached out to a few of my friends who have been through trainings and deployments alike in both these scenarios to get their best tips. I’ve also compiled some general tips to help get through anytime apart, with or without official channels in place, and with or without a marriage certificate.
I dabbled in Pinterest projects during deployment – including making pinata cookies. Photo by Jessica Hall.
It’s hard to stay positive with all that life throws at you, let alone what the Army throws at you. In general I try to not let moments get me down, like a bad day at work, an assignment gone wrong, or time apart from loved ones, but it’s hard. There are always days or weeks that you have the blues. So just what do I do to stay as positive as I can?
Silver linings in everything. Love the color contrast in this photo from our trip to the Tulip Festival last year! Photo by Jessica Hall
A few weeks ago I started hearing about a book called Dinner with the Smileys. It was written by a Navy spouse about how her and her family spent her husband’s yearlong deployment by inviting a new guest to join her and her 3 boys for dinner. I was intrigued as soon as I heard that. My first though: what an incredible idea. I couldn’t wait to read about their story, and journey.
Dinner with the Smileys. Photo of book by Jessica Hall
Note: This is repurposed from my old blog. New food/drink ideas coming soon! Gotta upload images from my camera and find time to cook!
When James was deployed I got a request to bake cake-in-a-jar, one of his soldiers had received a few so I thought I would give it a shot. I will say that I did buy big jars which resulted in me having to make the whole cake recipe in two parts (since I thought I would just half it to fill them, alas nope). So definitely take jar size into account when deciding how much to make of a recipe. Fortunately it was a simple recipe so it didn’t take too long to whip up another batch.
Overall it was simple, here’s how to get tasty cakes in a jar!
- The final product
When James returned from deployment it was pure joy. But we’ve both had to give and get from each other to make sure that living together still goes well. Things have definitely changed in our lives since before deployment so figuring out new schedules and chores can cause some bumps in the road. Here are some things we’ve been doing to ease those bad days and make them all good:
Photo by Jessica Hall
I know you’re probably like whaaaaaat? But yeah it’s true. There are some habits that I picked up while the hubby was gone that I find myself needing/wanting to do. They aren’t terrible habits, more like patterns of life I fell into during the months he was gone. Be it how to go about my day or just things I like to do.
Here’s what I find myself doing now that I’m used to him being home. Continue reading
I feel fortunate that during my husband’s deployment we had Skype, Facebook, email, and phones to talk. Since he was in a staff position we could talk nearly everyday, even just on chat. That is more than some of my friends whose husbands are in platoons that went on missions for days at a time; and even others in more remote areas with little access to phones or Internet, so I know I am lucky. But I have no concept of how my grandmother and her peers made it through World War II, Korea and Vietnam on letters alone, and I truly admire them. But with that being said, I wonder what it would be like to be less connected.
I wrote last week about how the last days of deployment were long. Really long. But today I can tell you with 100% certainty that having your loved one home is absolutely amazing. I can’t even describe how great it felt to see him again, and spend time with him. I first saw him on a video screen, watching the Soldiers come off the plane at the airfield, and squealed with joy. Then I waited a really long time (read: the Soldiers then had to fill out a bunch of paperwork and stuff, then deal with crazy traffic to meet up with the families on the other side of JBLM). I spotted him walking in the formation in, I hardly heard the words of the chaplain or commander releasing them.
Me with my sign. Photo courtesy of Jessica Hall
As you read this I am spending some quality time with the hubby, for the first time in about 8 months. I am writing this prior to his homecoming ceremony because between his return and Thanksgiving, I may not be able to blog for a few days. But while I’m sure there are a lot of emotions going through my head right now as I hug and kiss him for the first time in what feels like forever, the days leading up to it were loong. So looooong.
Circle banner hung on the mantle with care. Photo by Jessica Hall