I remember writing about solo parenting many times throughout the last deployment. Reading many parenting blogs, military support websites and feeling overwhelmed by it all, but still armed with strategies and support to muscle our way through.
As we prepared for this round, I kept thinking how much easier it was going to be. The kids are older now. They can talk and express themselves! They can bathe and dress themselves, even brush their own teeth. They help out with household chores (albeit reluctantly at times). There are no diapers. They are in school, so there will be breaks that we will all get from each other. This will be a piece. of. cake.
Hindsight is not only 20/20, it wears big-ass rose-colored glasses.
Yes, physically, this deployment will likely be easier. Yes, they will have school, that’s true. What I wasn’t prepared for was the depth of emotions coming from the kids.
I know. I know this stuff. Nightly Hannah expresses frustration about missing daddy, sometimes crying, but not all the time. They will ask questions, randomly, catching me off guard. Everyone processes this stuff differently. I was not a military kid, so I don’t have that experience. The spouse experience is just different. Both of them go from zero to meltdown far more quickly, which was to be expected. Logically, I get it. I’ve known the kids would have a hard time, that it would no question be an emotional upheaval. I guess what is surprising is that I wasn’t as prepared for it as I thought I was.
I was wrong. Deployments and separations are NEVER easy.
They don’t get easier, you don’t get used to them, and every one of them are different. They are their own unique snapshot of time. They all have their own challenges and victories. And don’t get me started on the “Well, you knew what you were getting into when you married a man in the military. What did you expect?”
For the love of all that is good and holy, stop saying that crap to military spouses! Comprehending it and walking it are VERY different.
The kids will survive, thrive, even though they miss their dad. We’ll be fine. We will get through it, like every other time. It may not be perfect harmony, but We can do hard things, like Glennon Doyle Melton says.
We can do hard things.