Paul has been home for over a month. We are back to normal. It's so nice.
I wish that I had magic tips and tricks for getting through deployments and long-distance and time apart. Actually, as long as I am wishing, I wish for no deployments, no long-distance and no time apart. But at the moment, for many families, that's unrealistic.
Everyone's first question, when you tell them your partner is home from deployment, is, "Is he home for good?" And that makes me smile grimace, because nope. "Home for good" means nothing until he's out of the military and we don't know for sure when that will be for us. Our "Plan" is more than a little abstract.
But he is home. And it is good.
I have him here until November when he'll be training for three weeks. And then he'll be home again until early February when he'll deploy again for about six months. And then he'll be home for four years as he completes his residency. And then we'll start the cycle all over again with deployments every 12 months or so for years and years.
(Of course all of this is completely up in the air.)
I really wish I could break it down into five simple steps to get through a deployment with a smile on your face. Wouldn't that be so awesome? But all I have to offer is this:
You will get through it. You will be stronger. You will have bad days. You will have good days. Both are okay. Both are normal. Do what works for you. Do only what works for you. Take it one day (and sometimes one hour) at a time.
I got through the deployment because I relied on what gives me strength - my friends & my parents. I got through the deployment because I turned off the chatter around me and focused on myself. I got through the deployment because I have this blog and I work to maintain a positive attitude in and for this space. I got through deployment because I set challenging but obtainable goals for distraction. I got through the deployment because I love Paul and because I believe in us.
Years ago, when I dreamed about my future, my husband and I both had traditional 8-5 jobs. But then I fell in love with Paul. And he was committed to the military. So to be with him meant I had to be committed to the military. Paul is who he is because of the career path he chose. Also because of his path, I am blessed with the ability to be "non-traditional" in my career. We are building a different family and life than I would have predicted but a much greater one than I could have hoped for.
Deployments are part of the game for us. And knowing what I know, and the heartache that comes from having your partner halfway around the world, I would pick Paul and this path again every single time. He is my best match and I am his.
If you are going through a deployment or are about to (whether it's your first or 52nd), I wish you peace. I send you encouragement and I thank you so much for your service and sacrifice. If you are not going through a deployment, but having a rough time, my advice stands ... take it one day, one hour at a time. xo.