I found out I was deploying before we got engaged. It wasn’t even so much finding out as it was agreeing to go. I actually had a choice, unlike many people, and for that I am grateful because it may not always be that way. I didn’t make a big to-do about deploying, and I don’t think many people outside of family and close friends even really knew until I mentioned it in a post and then the week leading up. In my squadron, there is a non-stop rotating door of people constantly leaving and returning and so it just didn’t feel dramatic.
But I did have a lot of the same comments and questions, so I thought I would finally address them here!
We’ll go in the typical order asked:
- Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry, how long?
I think this is people’s immediate reaction. The “sorry”. It’s not a bad thing, I’m sure I have thrown it around or two in the past…but it really isn’t something to be sorry about, after all, I could have said no. The next part is, just 4 months. This seems to let people relax, sometimes to the point where they don’t even seem to register it as a deployment any more. True, 4 months is a good gig, especially when I know people who have been gone 6 months to a year from their significant others, but I don’t think it makes my experience any less real…after all, it is the first time Shai and I have been separated for more than 4 days since we started dating! Four months goes back and forth in my mind between feeling like a short trip to being 33% of the entire year (which sounds like a lot to me!)
- What are you doing to prepare?
Honestly…we planned a wedding. That is what we did leading up to the deployment. We had two months between the proposal and me heading off to the other side of the world and we planned 95% of the whole thing…which is what my posts will be focused on after this one! We were literally addressing invitations up until 2am the morning I was leaving (we had to wake up at 7 to take me to the airport).
|I swear, it doesn’t look as hard as it was….|
I had a picture of this (the above picture is credit to Shai, he rocks), but then my iPhone died, and has since been returned to the States…
|All those pictures…..|
Since being here, I remembered my friend’s post on her deployment experience and preparation but it was harder for me to relate. Hers is a beautiful post for military spouses, and although I am technically one (or going to be one in a few months) I am on the other side of this one. Between planning the wedding and all of my deployment training/appointments/paperwork…it almost felt like it wasn’t really real. Sure, I did a Power of Attorney, my first Will, and bumped up my life insurance policy…but those things were all done so quickly that it barely registered. Completing a Power of Attorney…you know…that piece of paper that essentially gives someone else the power to make all of your decisions about everything on your behalf?…that took me about 10 minutes. 10 minutes. To essentially sign the power of my life away?! They should at least make it a little bit of a hassle…but nope, it was one of the easiest things I even did for the deployment. And the Will?? You just fill it out online, plop some names in there, and BOOM. Show up the next day and sign away. Granted, I don’t have children, and we sold my house [ $-) ] so I didn’t have to get too much into detail. I could have sat there and divvied up all of my worldly belongings but that would have taken way too much time. If something were to happen to me, I am trusting my family to not be assholes. Just saying.
|Oh hey MOPP gear. Just some deployment training…nothing to see here.|
- Are you ready?
Yes? No? I mean, this is a hard one to answer. No, I was not necessarily ready to leave…but I didn’t really want to stay and have this lingering over us. I had all of my bags packed before our last weekend together – I didn’t want to waste any of that time packing, and that was a really great decision looking back because all we did that last weekend was go out and do stuff, not sit home and mope and pack.
|On the “High Roller” overlooking the Strip|
We really spent the last two weekends having a great time with all of our friends, so it almost didn’t even feel like, “well, guess I’m about to be on the other side of the world for the next 4 months and miss out on all the Vegas pool parties and exciting summer things”…ok, maybe it felt like that a little bit.
- How are you feeling?
This one was more common in those last couple days. I felt fine…like I said, we were so busy going out and finishing last minute wedding things, we hardly even talked about the fact that I was leaving in 48 hours or less. It was almost strange, but it was also normal because there wasn’t anything left we felt we needed to say, we didn’t feel the need to re-hash it out before I left so we just didn’t. And that worked for us. I really kept it together too up until that last 30 minutes at the airport when we checked my bags (he came in with me) and I went through security. That part was a little rough, but goodbyes have never been my strong suit. I’ve never really been that great at crying, and if I really get into it, I’m a noisy crier, I pretty much sound like I’m suffocating…and I didn’t particularly want people gaping at me making sure I wasn’t dying. So I kept my sunglasses on throughout the airport and we hugged it out with my moderately quiet tears, and when I calmed down I figured I couldn’t drag it out forever and so I went through security. After that, no more tears. I’m not saying I didn’t feel like crying over the next day or so – deploying the first time when you are completely by yourself (ie. no crews or other people from your squadron…no familiar faces) is a pretty stressful experience. I was not a fan. But I’m not really able to cry unless there is someone there relevant to witness it (ie. Shai)…so I just didn’t bother. And that was that.
This post would be a lot more amusing if Shai was the one gone and I was stuck at home. I could tell you how Merlin dug up the backyard when the sprinklers went off during the night and was a complete mud mess. I could tell you how that silly pup gets too excited every time I get home that he can’t even hold his pee until he gets out…and sometimes wants a belly rub at the same time (yes, while he is peeing….) But I can’t….because those things all happened to Shai the first week I was gone…poor guy. Handling two pups all by yourself can be quite the handful!!
|Aww look at my little family =)|