November 17, 2006

COMPLEX EMOTIONS

CaliValleyGirl sent me an email today, asking me if we know anything else about the craziness that is my husband's next assignment. She said,

Man, you know, it's strange...part of me almost misses the deployment...don't get me wrong, it sucked...however, I felt like I was part of something bigger. You know? The ups and downs, but I was in it together with all these other families. I felt more a part of the military...I miss that.

I think that life during deployment feels more precious than life out of it. I didn't think OIF II was that bad for me. I have no memory of how I passed the time though; my husband's been in the field two days now and I'm bored out of my mind. But when we're facing deployment, I think we try to find the silver lining as best we can. We relish the tight community that develops between those on the homefront and feel a part of something big and meaningful. And, on a more practical level, we come up with all these things we will accomplish when they're gone: next year I'll lose weight because I won't cook as well, I'll make those two quilts I've been talking about for years, I'll read all those books, I'll fly to L.A. to visit CaliValleyGirl, and so on. We convince ourselves that the year will go by fast because we'll be so busy. And then, when he gets home, we'll start a family. Everything will be perfect, because we've convinced ourselves that it's all working out according to plan.

But that's not what's happening now. My husband found out that his switch went through. He originally had made a scratch-my-back deal with his branch manager that she'd let him leave if he took this slot in the deploying unit that no one else wanted. We were all set to do that, when he got word that he's going directly to Civil Affairs training. No more deployment for us.

ArmyWifeToddlerMom always says that when you're on the outside looking in, people think that reintegration is just jumping up and down with a handmade sign and life is all flowers and sausages. But for the people going through it, it's not always that simple. That's how I feel today about this non-deployment. I would never say that making a quilt or reading a book is better than (or even comparable to) having my husband living in the house with me, but I had psyched myself up with all the ways I would get through next year, and it's just strange to turn all those thoughts off all of a sudden.

And the family thing, the family thing is killing me.

I heard my husband tell his mom on the phone the other day that we just had our hearts set on having a baby "like a normal couple." The way he phrased it, "like a normal couple," broke my heart. I want that so bad, and I thought it was within reach. He'd come home from deployment and have time where he was stuck in school and not going anywhere. And we'd be together for the entire pregnancy and birth. Like a normal couple. Unlike nearly every other Army wife I know who has done it alone. We had found a way to control our destiny, if only for a while.

And now, now he starts training a year early. And we're not ready to be parents just yet. Our options have now become 1) go for it before we're ready, or 2) take the chance of doing it apart. I don't like either of those options.

Civil Affairs most likely means more deployments in our future. We're fine with that, but we just wanted to get a leg up on the Army, one last stint of normalcy before he gives his life over to the whims of current events. And I find myself extremely disappointed.

I'm disappointed that my husband isn't deploying. Try explaining that complex emotion to family and friends.

So I milked all that patriotic praise out of you guys earlier this month, and apparently we don't deserve it at this time. My husband isn't going anywhere just yet.

Which is a good thing. Just a different thing.

Posted by: Sarah at 12:25 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
Post contains 717 words, total size 4 kb.

1 "...and apparently we don't deserve it at this time..." Just because he's not deploying? No you're wrong. Nothing has changed. He's just going to do something different. In the long run it will be something he really wants to be doing and something that will help in a bigger way. You both deserve every bit of praise for doing a difficult job. As for children... I have to say, there is no "good" time to have them. Trust me on this one. If it's good in one way it will suck pond water in another way. Kids are one thing that can never be properly prepared for. It's more difficult in the military because of all the moving, deployments, etc. but still there is no good time. Many people "think" themselves out of having kids because they never "think" the time is right and they wait too long. This comes to you from someone who had 2 kids at the "worst" possible times. :-)

Posted by: Teresa at November 17, 2006 05:40 PM (gsbs5)

2 sarah, please cross post this over at SpouseBuzz... I too am on this hurry up and wait thing...

Posted by: armywifetoddlermom at November 17, 2006 05:45 PM (GrO13)

3 It'll happen for you when the time is right. I know that sounds trite and cliche. But from what I've seen there is no perfect time. Thanks for the note you left on my blog. Was much appreciated. I am checking my reads, just not as much.

Posted by: Mare at November 20, 2006 02:55 AM (3cGBi)

4 Ditto to Teresa's first comments. I have no idea about the kid thing! Give Charlie a pat on the head for me!

Posted by: MaryIndiana at November 21, 2006 05:11 AM (YwdKL)

5 Well Sarah, I can confirm that there is no "good" or "right" time to have kids. The "good time" comes AFTER you've had them. It is a new adventure that you are never fully prepared for. Think of everything you've been through with your puppy. Now imagine the love you have for that puppy multiplied by 100 or 1000. That is a kid! Good luck to you both. Incidentally, I encourage you to have kids in the military, it is much cheaper! Jim

Posted by: Jim "The Cat" at November 23, 2006 06:33 AM (bapGX)

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