Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Right now the USS George HW Bush is anchored off the coast of Cartagena, Spain

Which means that there are about 5,000 people in the area waiting with bated breath for their husbands, wives, fiances, and significant others to call or Skype.  Navy deployments tend to be low on communication.  Submariners have it the hardest obviously, with almost no email and phone and "family-grams" (telegrams that are limited to the number of characters you can use) that come out monthly-ish.  But even the biggest ships in the Navy have unreliable internet and frustrating satellite phones (with a high price tag, long delay and even longer lines).  Skype is impossible on most ships.  Last week I tried to send the same set of pictures three times before giving up.  It might be the information age, but that doesn't really apply to the sea-going Navy at the moment.

Tonight I had a friend over for dinner and we were talking about port call communication.  The good (hearing their voice, seeing their face, feeling closer to your loved one), the bad (seeing via your joint checking account that your significant other went golfing before they bothered to call), and the ugly deadly (umm... they didn't call at all).  I remember being at a spouse's club meeting on a previous deployment at about the time our husband's pulled into port.  Phones started ringing... people started leaving the living room to go outside or to a more private area to talk to their husbands.  AWKWARD CENTRAL.  Because, of course, there were a few left sitting in the living room... And even if there is a good reason for no call, it still stings.  Like being that last person picked in gym class.

But despite all of the opportunity for drama, there is a major silver lining to limited Navy communication and phone calls.  I will venture to assume that an average married couple who sees each other day in and day out rarely gives much extra thought to a phone call or text message.  It is routine, expected, and just the status quo.  When Johnny is away I get giddy over phone calls.  When I see the random mixture of numbers that I don't recognize on my caller ID I literally get butterflies in my stomach and jump up and down.  That feeling is something that I cherish and wish I could bottle up and share with others.  I appreciate the fact that the military gives me an opportunity to really truly miss my husband.  To feel the way I did at 15 when we were just starting to get to know one another.  It is refreshing and invigorating. 

Would I trade this feeling to have him home with me and our kids right now?  Absolutely.  But seeing J's face, watching my daughter try to feed him cereal on the computer screen (and him actually pretend to eat it), and knowing that he is missing us so much has recharged my batteries.  I choose to be thankful for the butterflies.

2 comments: said...

So glad you were able to Skype!

Pamela said...

I find it hard to imagine what military families 20+ years ago dealt with. I'm so thankful for today's technology! How awesome that you were able to see your husband!

Hi, I'm Jill!

Hi, I'm Jill!
Extrovert. Mom of two. Wife of a cute Naval Aviator. Lover of wine. When I'm not chasing my two kids around town you will find me writing, taking too many photos, and researching the ten future areas the Navy could potentially (but probably won't) PCS us. We are fish out of water, landlocked at 7,000 feet. For now.

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