One month down, 11 more to go. When I see it written out like that, it feels like an eternity.
I personally feel that the first month of a long deployment is the easiest. The month before the deployment starts is hard because there is so much anticipation mixed with dread; wanting it to finally start while not wanting it to ever start at the same time. The middle months are really hard, like the Wednesday of a sucky work week that never seems to end. The final month is hard because of the amount of anticipation, though this time mixed with a lot of excitement and a touch of apprehension, topped with the billion things to need to get done. The first month however, it’s not that hard.
The first month of a deployment makes me think of the first month after bringing home a new baby: you are a bit scared but you are also excited and optimistic. You’re adjusting to a new schedule, learning new ways of doing things, and the baby sleeps most the time so despite everything, you’re thinking, this isn’t too bad! Fast forward a few months when you are dealing with colic, zombie-level exhaustion, and haven’t had time to wash your hair in over a week… it makes you realize how good you really had it that first month.
With one month of deployment down, we are still energetic, optimistic, and thinking things aren’t too bad. C and I adjusted our daily schedule, particularly in the evenings having dinner earlier and getting to bed earlier. I went through the house, storing some things that won’t be used for the next year and rearranging some other things to be more convenient for me. For example, I rarely make coffee and when I do, I use a french press so the coffee maker was cleaned and stored. Also, the double sink in our master bathroom… all mine now. I even took over J’s side of the shower but I did leave a bottle of his body wash there so I could smell him every day.
For the most part, the majority of the days were good despite some moments of craziness or intense frustration. I could tell my stress levels were up based on my cravings for chocolate and potato chips. One thing I really slacked on this month was cooking, opting to make quick and easy things more often than not. C really loves Annie’s Mac and Cheese, I have a serious baked potato habit, and we both really love Aidells sausages and meatballs. We went though more of those things than we should have in a month but it made life easier so I’m okay with that.
With my partner in life and parenting gone, there is no one else to play with, interact with, and care for C. There is also no one else to help do the dishes or clean up around the house. Those things take up most of my time now. I had created a “Deployment Bucket List” but I’m realizing that I am going to accomplish much less this year than I originally hoped. Though it’s not only because of the deployment, it’s more because I’m still in the parenting-a-small-child chapter of my life. Some projects have been on hold since C was born so I guess another year won’t matter. C won’t be this young forever and nothing that needs done is more important than building a relationship and making memories with her. Now if only I had Mary Poppins’ cleaning magic…
Despite some personal projects that are put on hold, I am trying to check things off of my “Life in South GA Bucket List” since this may be our final year living here. Luckily, those things can include C so we should get plenty checked off. Planning events and trips each month give us things to look forward to and helps the time seem to pass more quickly.
Thanks to modern technology, we are able to communicate with J almost daily in form of text messages, audio or video calls. Alas, conversations are usually short because time is limited but I’m so grateful we can keep in contact as much as we do. It helps tremendously! By the end of the month I started to really miss having long conversations with him and C started having more “I miss daddy” moments. I think that we are just starting to feel and understand that this really is a long-term situation.
Month 1 events:
Month 1 accomplishments:
On to month two!
“Courage, dear heart.”