Sunday, July 10, 2016

In the Waning Days

This deployment was nothing like the last one in many ways. If you have been a reader of my blog, you know I've been totally absent. Last time John was gone I would write 3 or more times per week; it was my outlet and my saving grace, but it wasn't to be this time. The world has changed, we are more interconnected, and I simply didn't feel safe with "anyone" (or even my small group of readers) knowing that I was home alone with two kids for eight months. Especially with the mission my husband and his squadron was tasked with.

It was different in many other ways too. My kids are older and so I was definitely less drained and had more time to myself than 2011. I had a much larger "village" with school, sports, dance, friends, and friends who became family. I live in a wonderful neighborhood in a beautiful area with gorgeous weather. The lonely, physically exhausting deployment of 2011 was not repeated and I am grateful.

We are in the waning days. There is a bright light at the end of this long tunnel.

I am so proud. Proud of my husband for his service and sacrifice. Proud of my kids for their strength and good nature. Proud of my fellow navy wives - some going through their first deployment, others going through their 7th or more. Proud of myself for juggling the many tasks and roles somewhat gracefully over the past 240 days.

It is a controversy in the military community about whether military families actually "serve" the nation. Make any mention about a spouse taking an ounce of credit for her servicemember and you are met with a chorus of internet disdain (just google "dependa" if you want a taste of that vitriol). And while you'll never see me sporting a bumper sticker proclaiming that as a Navy wife that I have the "toughest job", I also do not believe that families and kids have "nothing" to do with the success of the US military. No, I wasn't issued to my husband, but my husband wouldn't serve if he couldn't do so with the kids and I by his side. And while my kids aren't flying off an aircraft carrier every day, they are definitely cuddling their daddy dolls and longing for their father every night. My kids have sacrificed. My fellow Navy wives have sacrificed, and I have sacrificed. I am okay saying that, proud even.

Every month we would send a box out to the squadron to brighten their days and decorate their space seasonally. On one of the last months we sent out a box with a "Here Comes the Sun" theme. I asked the families in our squadron to submit a photo or video with what they are most excited to do once their sailor gets home. As I opened emails with submissions I was struck with how simple some of the wishes were. "Play with my toys", "snuggles", and "sharing pizza" were some of the popular ones. For others, the request was more serious and heart wrenching, "I can't wait for you to meet your son".

Wallbanger "Here Comes the Sun" video, 2016 (sorry it isn't embedded, just click the link and it should work):

These are sacrifices. These families are serving in their own way. No, it doesn't take away from the men and women standing the watch, manning the rails, sleeping aboard the carrier, and flying thousands of missions. The Truman will have traversed over 50,000 miles of ocean on this deployment and they deserve all of the accolades. But as I kiss my kids goodnight over the next few nights, the last nights of deployment, I know that they have served too.


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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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