Emotional Lifecycle of Deployment

Several of my friends are sending their husbands off on deployments this month, which of course leads to much reflection for all of us. Each time one of us goes through this, I think we all go through it just a little too, even if it’s not our turn. (See a post from Mrs. Woods when my last deployment began. She explains it well, and nearly brings tears to my eyes as I read it one year later.)

Deployments bring with them so many emotional challenges, and we often talk about whether this feeling or that feeling is “normal.” Well, just a reminder to those of you embarking on this winding journey, it’s all normal no matter how crazy it may seem.

I created this infographic for a class last year about the emotional lifecycle of deployment for military spouses. Hopefully someone who is getting ready for, in, or completing a deployment might find it useful.

P.S.  Check out my friend’s new photography blog, Confessions of a Sisterwife, which she created as a way to use art to help get through deployment. Her photography is gorgeous.


I Am a Friend Connoisseur

Recently I spent a weekend in DC to celebrate three of my friends’ birthdays. Needless to say, with all the festivities it was quite the weekend!

During the years I spent in the DC area, I was truly blessed to meet and build strong friendships with some of the most fun, intelligent, and talented women. As good friends do, they each in their own way had a profound effect on me and most certainly contributed to the woman I am today. (And also as good friends do, they got me through a lot of firsts, including the first deployment.)

On my last night there I gathered a few of us together so I could have just a bit more time with them before heading back to my fantastic friends and funny dog here at home. I try and get my various DC friends all in the same place every time I visit, and each time proves incredibly memorable. But the thing is, these friends that I convene are each from the different pieces of my life in DC – some are from my first job, some are from my second job – and some are from my first part-time job. I am the common denominator when this group comes together.

Some folks don’t like to mix and match friends from different areas of life (work friends with gym friends, gym friends with hometown friends, etc). I’ve always been of “the more the merrier” mindset, and if I like all of them, surely they will like each other. (Yes, this can on occasion come back and bite me, but most times it does not.)

That evening one friend of mine began discussing with another that they should really get together more often. I wholeheartedly agree.

DC Girls and Me at the Beach

At the Beach for My Bachelorette Party

I have always wondered why they don’t get together without me there to corral them. Each one of them is purely extraordinary and a joy to be around. I mean, wouldn’t one wonderful person just automatically gravitate to another kindred spirit? One would think. And of course, because they are my friends, I think they deserve the best, including the very best of other friends.

And then it hit me: Clearly, I must be a Friend Connoisseur. I may not be a connoisseur of anything else, but of friends, I most certainly am!  I fancy myself to be an expert friend-picker: I understand what makes up an amazing friend and I seek out those people. My friends are incredibly valuable to me. And because of that, over the years I believe I have become a good judge of friend-character, and I have reaped the benefits of my expertise.

And, I am also just lucky that I have many friends who are caring, loyal, funny, kind, and all-in-all, just really fabulous people.

Any connoisseur worth their salt should spread the knowledge wealth. Hopefully, I’ve done just that. 🙂

The Best Thing About Deployment

This weekend wasn’t my favorite. My husband, my Marine, left before dawn on Saturday, marking what I’ve come to think of as the beginning of our next deployment–the long training that precedes the actual deployment. His departure brings anxiety about the weeks he will be gone for this stretch, and the months that he will be gone the next.

This isn’t a pity-party-post, though. As I’ve said before, life could be much worse. Instead, I write this post so I can share with you the best part of deployment: The support that comes with it from the military community that surrounds me here.

Those of us that have been through this song and dance before know, obviously, how it feels. Though I’m a little down, I also feel very loved by my friends this Valentine’s day. I received the sweetest messages all weekend and my buddies kept me busy the entire time. I was far from alone.

Megan and her Marine husband insisted on cooking me breakfast the morning my husband left. Ashley cooked me dinner that night and made sure my wine glass was full. Beth spent the remainder of that evening watching a terrible movie–that I had chosen–until the end, all the while I dozed on the opposite couch (Sorry, Beth!). Anna brought me a Valentine pick-me-up that included a very sweet card, some V-day goodies, and cupcakes!

And really, the list goes on. Honestly, the best parts of deployment are those that get you through it. Happy Valentine’s Day.