Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NEVER say this to a military spouse...EVER

Dealing with deployments is not easy. We are separated from each other for months, we have to try and go on with life, take care of our children, celebrate holidays, spend anniversaries away from each other, watch couples walk by holding hands, hear people complain about their husbands, go days, weeks, or even longer without hearing from our significant others and try to not completely break down every second of the day. We live in fear that they may not come home, realize that while we're eating a nice juicy steak, they are eating crap food. So when someone chimes in, offers their opinions and tries to console us with their comparisons of their civilian marriages, we're trying our hardest to not slap some sense into them. Don't get me wrong, I understand that you're trying to make me feel better, but just as I believe that there should be a list of things to never say to a pregnant woman, there are things that should never be said to a military wife, especially while her husband is deployed.

This is my second deployment, our first deployment was extremely difficult, we had just started dating, we both didn't know what to expect. It was a test for our love, a test we managed to deal with and honestly, it proved to us how much we truly love each other. I always heard stupid comments from teachers, "friends", family members, co workers, random people in general. This time around, I am a wife, not a girlfriend, I am a mother now too. I knew what to expect, periods of time where I wont be able to hear from him, feeling so alone even though I have family and friends around me, the pang of jealousy when I would see a couple together, a family. And, while I would love to say that it's easier this time around, it's not. While I would love to say that I don't have to deal with stupid comments, I feel like they have gotten 
even worse this time around. So here I am, sharing what I think should be considered almost illegal to say to me, or any other wife, who is dealing with deployment.

I don't know how you do it. I could never deal.
Um, do what? Wait for him? It's called marriage. It's a commitment that you make for life. If he was an astronaut I'd wait. If he had to serve a year in the peace corps I would wait. If for some reason he had to go to jail, I would wait. What? You wouldn't wait for you husband?I stand by his side because I love him, I am strong and am awaiting his return anxiously. I miss him terribly and sometimes I feel like I can't go on. But I just have to go on. Are you honestly expecting me to lock myself in my room for the whole deployment? I have a child, my life has to go on, I have other obligations and it's not fair for my son to not have his father and mother. While you may think this sounds a compliment, it's not something I like to hear.

Well, he knew what he was signing up for when he joined. Or even worse, You knew what you were getting into when you got married to him (or started dating him)
How the hell is that supposed to make me feel better? It's called love, you don't not marry someone because they are in the military. If you love that person you stand by them no matter what choice they make or made. In my husband's case, he joined pretty much right out of high school, it was something he wanted to do, he did everything he could to join. He chose his life, and I chose to be with him. Yes, when we met I knew he was to deploy soon, he left just months after we met, but I couldn't stop my heart from loving him. I wasn't going to put our love on hold because he was in the Marines. He admits, he was naive, he has confessed that he can't wait to get out of the Marines. Does he regret it? No, he liked it, but he's done with it, we have a family now, he doesn't want to miss out on our son growing up. We want to start living our lives, without the Military. Did we expect to get pregnant and have him leave and miss out on Gabriel's milestones? No. Things don't always go as planned. We "planned" to wait until after his contract was done to start a family, things didn't work out that way.

Don't you miss him?
This has got to be the dumbest question I have ever heard. I don't think I need to get into this. Just know that the answer is yes. Every freakin second of the day. Every time Gabriel does something cute or new I feel a hole in my stomach and feel like he's missing out on so much. As I'm buying Christmas things or eating his favorite meal I think of him and feel like I need him by my side. If a song like "Come Home Soon", "Far away", "Home" or "When You're Gone" comes on, I choke up and before I know it tears are streaming down my face. When I glance at a picture of us I wish I could reach in and hug him. I sleep in his shirts and sleep on his pillow, my heart skips a beat when I think of his homecoming. If you still doubt me missing him, please look at my expression when you ask me this question, I'm sure you'll see something in my eyes that will speak louder than my words.

I know what you feel, my boyfriend/fiance/husband vent on vacation/a business trip for a week and I felt like I was going insane.
How dare you compare a week long trip to a year long deployment? Do you seriously thing this little tidbit makes me feel better? I'm sure your significant other got to sleep in a nice comfy bed, eat tasty food, take nice long hot showers, sleep at somewhat regular hours, oh and, they aren't risking their lives!!!!! Mine is, he has long days, short nights, sleeps in a sleeping bag, can't reach over and call me on the phone whenever he feels like it and is gone for much longer than yours is. Please don't ever say this again, it makes me wanna punch you.

Where is he located exactly?
Why the hell does it matter. I doubt you know Iraqi geography so when I say "Iraq" don't try to get all nosey. 

Has he killed anyone? Doesn't it scare you that you're married to a killer?
First off, that is none of your business. Second, I am not married to a killer. My husband is trained to kill to defend our country, and please know that not every Military Man (or woman) has to go on a killing spree, really, there are different types of jobs in the military, and they don't give you a killing quota, some people never even have to fire their rifles.

He gets to come ho
me for the holidays though right?
He can't pick and choose when he comes back. He will miss out on things, part of the reason why we're sad. Some Daddies miss the births of their children, they miss anniversaries, Christmases, even funerals of parents or other loved ones. 

At least he'll be here next year! (when you inform them that they are going to miss out on a holiday or special event)
Regardless of them being able to be home for every Christmas after that, it's still hard. And your comment isn't easing the pain. We want them home now and it's not just hard on us, it's hard on them too.

At least you don't have to deal with your husband hogging the bed/snoring/taking over the tv remote/leaving clothes all over the place/etc...
I wouldn't care if he was here, snoring away, watching ESPN all day long while I wanted to watch Desperate Housewives. He would be home and that' all that matters. Appreciate your husband, and if you don't, please don't complain to us that he's taking up the bed, my bed is so empty and lonely. Stop complaining about him, hug him, kiss him, cuddle up to him, fight over the remote and tell him you love him, you have no idea how lucky you are to have the opportunity to do so. 

You only have a few more months to go, time flies, he'll be home in no time!
Check your calendar. It's November, he comes home in May. That is not "a few" more months. I don't like to think of how many months are left, it's still gonna seem so far away. The last few weeks/months are the hardest, you feel like time isn't passing fast enough

Don't you miss sex? Man, I would not be able to go for almost a year of not having sex!
Um, no of course not, I don't miss sex. I'm actually a robot so I don't have those kind of needs. Seriously? Of course I miss it but us Military Wives quickly learn that our relationships have more important aspects than sex. We learn to appreciate the important things in a relationship: seeing their faces, holding his hand, having dinner every night and being able to talk about our days. 

At least your son is young, he doesn't know that his Dad is gone, he wont even remember it.
The fact that my son is only 1 year old doesn't mean that he doesnt miss his Daddy. He might not understand why Daddy is away, but he's know that Daddy loves him, that he's not here right now and that being able to see Daddy on the webcam or hear his voice over the phone is a treat. He sees a picture and points to it saying "Papá", kisses the picture and looks around for him. Maybe years from now, Gabriel won't remember his Daddy went away for a year but he does know Daddy isn't home.

I know just how you feel.
NO, you don't know how I feel. Unless you have gone through this yourself or are going through it now you really don't know how I feel. You can't feel that emptiness inside of you or the joy of a five mintue phone call. You don't toss and turn in your bed, surrounded by a bunch of pillows and still can't sleep because your bed feels empty.So please, stop trying to make me feel better.

Party Time! Husband is away, lets have a night out on the town, lets go to a club etc...
No. I am not single. And he deserves as much respect as if he were here, so I am not going to some club or some bar where some drunken random dudes will be hitting on me.

I know how you feel, I was (or "my mom/sister/friend/cousin/etc") was a single mom.
Again, I am not single. Right now I have to take on the role of Mother and Father maybe, but I am not a single mother. A single mother doesn't have to worry about her husband being in danger.

I understand, I watch Army Wives!
It's a TV show, this is real. Please don't think you know my life because you see "military spousal life" on this show. Again, it's a show. A scripted show written to appeal to viewers and profit from the ratings. 

From what I heard, you get really good money from deployments!
No amount of money is worth something happening to my husband. I'd rather be poor and have him home any day.

You need to cheer up! He'll be home soon and moping around isn't going to make him come home faster!
I am trying soooo hard to be strong. Everyone falls every once in awhile. I have days that I don't want to get out of bed, I just want to cry and I don't feel like "dolling" myself up for no one. You making it seem like thats all I am doing is stupid. Go away if yo don't want to deal with my "depressive" self

The _______(president, war, military, etc) is stupid. Don't you hate them for making him get deployed?
I am not involving my political views. And I would appreciate it if you spared me with yours. I hate deployment. Period. Doesn't mean I hate the President or the Military.

I'm glad I'm not in your shoes!
Gee thanks.

Honestly, I just wish some people would think before they speak, it's so annoying to deal with dumb comments. Half the time I just let it slide off, brush it off my shoulders and keep on going with my life, but I just thought some people should be aware of what they say to us Military wives. We are proud of our guys out there, we miss them to death and are awaiting their homecoming, we are strong and stand by them and we can't let any one get us down.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Houston, we have a walker!

Today Gabriel started officially walking! I was sitting in the kitchen talking to my friend and he was standing next to the fridge when all of a sudden, he takes about 15 steps to his toy bin and picks out a book and sits down. He looked at me like I was crazy when I started clapping and saying "Yay Gabriel!" 
It's bitter sweet, I realize that he's growing up so quick and I know that soon he wont be falling every 10 steps and he won't need my help anymore. It's sad, and I wish I could pause time and enjoy my baby boy more before he's not baby any longer. 
In that brief moment that I watched him take those steps I not only got nostalgic because he's growing up, but I started thinking about how my husband is missing all these first moments and how he will feel to know he has missed so much. I am thankful for what he does, however, I can't help but wish that he would have been here with me to see it. I did manage to catch some of his first steps on video, but I know that is not the same. We will never have this all over again, we want more children, but it wont ever be a set of first first steps. Never again will we have a first first birthday or any other first first moment. 
I know that I can't be such a downer but this deployment seems so much harder than our first one. I am looking at the calender and have realized that we have only  a few days left til Thanksgiving and a few weeks left til Christmas and I am not overjoyed like other years. I am actually dreading it. I know that come those days, I will be a blubbering mess. In the years we have been together we have never not been together during the holidays.
So, while this is a happy moment, I wish my husband was here to see our little booger butt toddling around the house.