Monday, November 21, 2011

Preparing for Deployment

Over the last several months, many people have stated that they 'couldn't even imagine' doing what we've done.  I'll start from the very beginning and move forward throughout this week.  I can only speak for myself but, in general, I think most of my words will apply to the majority of the military/deploying world. 

My husband, who is now a civilian defense contractor, feels a calling to defend his country. He takes pride in what he does and he believes in the founding premise of what it means to be an American. He is willing to defend that premise to those who attack it. 

When I married my husband, I agreed to support and encourage him in his vocation. Just like all military and deploying defense contractor families, this vocation is not one that is carried by just one. It is carried by all. But it is carried with such pride that the load is bearable.  We are working for a cause, something that we believe in.

So, when our spouses tell us that there is a deployment on the horizon, we all do the same thing...we start preparing.  There is no time to pity ourselves, there is no time to wonder how we are going to do it...we just know that it has to be done so we'll do it. 

We found out about P's deploy date about 3 months prior.  I knew that it was on the horizon but just didn't know WHEN it was going to be.  So, when we finally got the date, I, 4 weeks postpartum, knew that the first thing that we needed to handle was to get Mini-C into a routine.  There was no way that I would be able to handle 3 kids under 3 if I had a baby who was completely unpredictable.  After that, we just started making lists. 

'Things to get done' lists
'Things to buy' lists
'People to contact' lists
'Stuff to research' lists

You name it, we had a list for it.  We organized and re-organized the whole house.  I had my 'handy-woman' book out with the tool kit P had prepared for me.  Both cars were checked out and ready to go.  Our Will was in the safe.  We had everything ready and organized.

For the kids, I made a countdown calendar, a 'kisses from daddy' jar, P recorded a book a week on video, and he took the kids to Build-A-Bear to make their 'daddy bears' (a bear with a recording in the paw from daddy).

Besides all of the physical preparations, I was also mentally and emotionally preparing myself. I had to be in a state where failure was not an option. I had to have my game face on and be ready to take on the challenge.  I couldn't allow those moments of doubt creep into my head because doubt wasn't going to get me anywhere.  Even more, I had to be in enough control that my husband was not going to worry about us.  I have to say, that was a heavy load to carry.

I had my nights of waking up in sheer panic and my absolute emotional breaks.  I had my times of falling into my husbands arms crying because I just didn't want to do this.  At one point, I BEGGED him to get a different job.  I thought all of the same things that everybody around me thought, I just couldn't dwell on them.

So there we were, prepared as we were ever going to be.  What people didn't see were the tears that flowed when I actually thought about what we were embarking on.  What they didn't see was the fear that was trying to take over my body.  What they didn't see was the paralyzing fear that something could happen to my husband.

But, May 6th came and we didn't shed a tear.  I was ready to stand by my husbands side as he set off to do what he was called to do.  We were doing this for a cause, right?

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