I read this article last week (during the middle of the night when Sadie was having a dance party in my belly) that compared the middle of a deployment to mile 13.1 of a marathon. You feel so good that so much is behind you, but the weight of how much you still have to go is majorly confidence-shaking; You wonder if you’ll be able to finish.
We don’t know exactly when Jamie is coming home, but we’re guessing that we hit the half way mark at some point during the last couple of weeks. Though some days are harder than others, for the most part we’re rockin’ and rollin’ to the finish line. We’ve done this twice before and I know how calendars work – time is going by and summer is, in fact, coming. Happy thoughts of his homecoming ceremony and readjusting as a family (of four – woohoo!) make me giddy! I know the sweetest memories are around the corner.
Today I just want to free-write about the last 4.5 months and how things have been going around here deployment-wise.
I’m so in love with Snapchat. So in love. It took my friend Meg 6+ months to convince me to download the app and another solid month before I figured out how to use it, but it’s been such a fantastic way to keep Jamie in the loop with what we’re up to on a daily basis and make him feel included in the simple moments. Snapchat makes it so easy to take quick videos and pictures of the random junk we’re up to during the day that I normally wouldn’t want to take pictures of (or that he wouldn’t necessarily care to keep), and he loves getting to wake up and watch clips of what we did while he was sleeping. Instead of Jamie daily asking me what we did that day, he instead can comment on what he watched on Snapchat and I don’t have to repeat what our day consisted of (a routine that has gotten very old during the last couple of deployments). Plain and simple, it rocks, especially for keeping him connected with Hadley’s daily adventures. Want to follow me too? I post a good chunk of what I send to Jamie on “My Story”. You can find me at @WhimsicalSeptember (Erica DeSpain).
Talking is so much easier now that I’m not teaching! The time change between us used to make having good, long conversations a rarity, but now that I have a more flexible schedule he is able to FaceTime us whenever he has the chance to. We usually get to talk with him about an hour total every day, and it’s been wonderful for our relationship and for his relationship with Hadley.
On the same note, we both usually have one day a week where we’re not in the mood to talk and are just feeling lethargic. We both totally understand and don’t take it personally if our conversations are short. Sometimes there’s just no conversation you can have that makes up for the physical absence, and that’s okay.
The Once-Dreaded 4-6 p.m.
Before Jamie deployed I was so worried about what Hadley and I would do between 4-6 p.m. That used to be the time that I would straighten up the house, he would get home and play with Hadley (a.k.a. I would semi punch the parenting time card for the day), and I would cook dinner. He would also bathe her before we both put her to bed. It was a wonderful routine that all three of us truly loved. What would we fill our time with now? Sure enough this time block hasn’t been an issue. Now Hadley naps a bit later (usually until 3:30 or 4), she gets a snack, and we go out to run an errand or meet a friend at the park for an hour. We eat dinner around 6, she watches a movie on her Kindle for a little while, and before we know it 7 p.m. rolls around and it’s time to start her bedtime routine!
Meltdowns (and not just Hadley’s…)
I can count three days total where I wanted to lay in my bed and cry. They each hit me like a ton of bricks and the pity parties were pretty intense. I was able to share my feelings with Jamie each time and he did his best to support me through those hard days. They were each triggered by something particular that rubbed me the wrong way out of the blue.
Getting Out of the House
We get out of the house every. single. day! It’s absolutely a necessity. Staying busy is usually a great distraction for me during difficult times, but this time around having a healthy combination of down time and being on the go has been crucial. Physically I can feel when my body says “Erica! You are pregnant. No more today (or this week).” I don’t mind listening and curling up with my girl on the couch to watch a movie. 🙂
Being surrounded by a military community and friends (near and far) who understand and have been there is everything.
Family who is supportive and understanding of this tough season is also everything. No one else can comfort you or be there for you quite like family can.
Going to church every Sunday has been really important to me (though Sadie is making it extremely uncomfortable to sit through a service at this point). Hadley loves that time to make a craft and play with friends, and I need that time each week to regroup. Sometimes it’s easy to skip out on church when your spouse is gone, but I know how much I need that time.
Hadley and I have gotten super tight. Like, SUPER tight. She’s my girl. We’re each other’s #1 right now.
We’re really hoping to see Jamie in April for Sadie’s birth, and I’m praying every day that Hadley runs to him when she sees him. I hope they pick up exactly where they left off. He’s done an incredible job of being present with her on FaceTime every single day, so I hope that’s helped to bridge the gap a bit.
Are you facing a deployment coming up? Do you have any questions about how to handle any part of it? Let me know!
PS: Have you seen the new “Military Life” drop down menu at the top of the page?