I know I’ve already written about my people before – but I decided they completely deserve a second mention – they’re all so different, and all completely amazing.
J keeps telling me that I made this deployment ‘easy’ on him. I followed the rules. I kept any really insignificant issues off his plate while he was away. If he was freaking out, I didn’t lay it on him to listen to me vent or to worry about. And that’s all wonderful – if he says it was easy, then I was successful.
But I can honestly say that there was not a single problem that I handled entirely by myself. Not one.
When the car did weird things, I called my dad. He walked me through what to do, calmly and patiently. My mom was at the ready with advice on everything from Tricare to how to handle peoples’ stupid questions about deployment and army wife life.
When Bravo the Infantrydog had to be rushed to the vet for x-rays because he would not stop eating things he shouldn’t, I was in the waiting room texting one of the other women whose husband was deployed at the same time as J. Her dog also likes to try to keep her busy, so she was able to give some encouragement with a little added humor, and some practical ‘been there, done that’ advice. And she showed me around her city and provided DELICIOUS food for a weekend when I needed to leave my accident-prone dog, and the pressures of ‘real life’ behind.
When I needed someone to come sit with me the weekend J left, my two friends from Fort Bragg drove ten hours to hang out with me in a hotel room, so I could hide from the world the day he actually flew out of the country. They texted and touched base almost every single day until they were sure that I was okay. And anytime I needed to have a freak out, they were blowing up our group message with humor, and love, and a whole lot of emojis.
When I needed to just be with him before he left, without worrying about balancing family and job craziness, my best friend, C, offered up her house to us for a week. It was closer to where he flew out of, and she gave us the best gift I could have gotten in that moment – time together, just the two of us. Every single time I texted her she somehow knew the exact thing to say. Whether it was during the craziness of predeployment, or the panic of a lack of communication while he was gone, or the post deployment reintegration period. Not to mention the times J was ‘just’ in school, and she drove the ten hours from Ohio to North Carolina simply to be with me, and to get to know J (who she had met exactly twice before we got married!).
My best friend from high school kept me distracted when J left by regaling me with his dating adventures, and when the homecoming date KEPT freaking changing, he spent a few days hunting down and sending me army related memes just to make me laugh. When I started to get a little too panicky, he essentially called me out on my nonsense.
J’s best friend kept me from going crazy on more than one occasion, via Facebook message. My first nanny family let me come over and just UNLOAD about everything that was going on in my life, and let me love on my girls. The two littles all over my Instagram? Their mama gave me TWO WEEKS off to get ready for J’s homecoming, and for the week after he came home. And any time I’ve asked to get some prayer on anything, she is right there with it. A friend from church let me freak out about all the normal marriage stuff, and supplied lots and lots of caffeine and humor, and got coffee and then even went grocery shopping with me to help me kill time so I wouldn’t be alone the day before J came home.
Y’all, my husband may see this as an easy deployment. And that is wonderful. But he also came home to a woman who he thought had her stuff together, and who felt like she was supported even when her husband was away.
All that bragging about my (amazing) friends was to say that if you don’t have a tribe – if you don’t have friends close enough that seeing you cry and freak out is acceptable, and that they’re willing to tell you that you need to slow down, or give your husband a break (the phrase “he’s not at summer camp” was told to me one time when I stressed about not getting a text in a few days) then you need to either start investing in your friends differently, or get different friends.
I love my husband. And I love the army. But this craziness is not for the faint of heart – and it is most certainly not for those who want to do it by themselves. Not only are you making things harder on yourself, your soldier and your marriage by staying isolated, but you’re robbing yourself of the chance to make amazing friends. The kind of friends who will come see you when you have a baby, or who are willing to write adoption reference letters, or who will text you back at 2 am when your car breaks down.
For my tribe – you’re all amazing. For my Mil Spouses who are trying to decide whether or not to make friends, or to try to go on a friend date with that girl who’s married to your husbands friend – do it. It is so, so very worth it.