Sorry I have been MIA for 3 weeks.  Since arriving home from California I hit the ground running!  Deployment season is upon Hubby's battalion.  To date we have said good-bye to about 200 soldiers from the HHBn with another 700ish to go.  I go to each and every flight for several reasons, first because I feel it is my duty as an American, second because I almost feel as these soldiers leaving are my ‘children’ (and many of them are young enough to be), but the main reason I go is because I WANT to go.  Not because I am the BC’s wife, but because I WANT to be there.  I want to shake the hand of each soldier heading off to war and to tell them "thank you and I appreciate you".  I do appreciate them, more than they will ever know. It takes a special type of person to SIGN UP for the job they have signed up for.  I know I couldn't do it.  I WANT to shake their hands, I WANT to hug that spouse that is trying so hard to hold it together as she/he prepares to say goodbye to the love of her/his  life for an ENTIRE YEAR. I WANT to wipe away the tears of the little boy crying in the corner,  I WANT to take pictures of each family/soldier/friend that has come to see the soldiers off (but only if they want the picture).  And I really WANT to wrap my arms around each and every person and tell them this year is going to be OK, and that they are going to make it and that we are going to get through this as an Army family.

Here is a glimpse of the goodbyes just for you, my friends, family and strangers that have come to this site to peek in on life of this military family….now hold on tight and get your tissues ready!
Mavericks, be safe and come home soon.  We love you.
A Chaplain once told me that Military families are in a constant state of grief.  Grief, really? Most people associate grief with death.  However grief is that internal feeling we have when we have a loss.  Military families today are in a constant grief cycle wheather it be from moving to a new duty station or having a spouse deploy. When I realized this I was in shock!  How simple, yet I never realized this.    

First we have Denial & Isolation- The moment I heard we were heading back to Fort Deployment (Hood) I was in denial.  No freaking way am I going back there. I mean, what is wrong with the Army?  We VOLUNTEERED to stay in Korea.  Why would they spend so much money on sending us back across the world?  This turned into the Second stage of grief which is Anger.  I was so Angry with the Army for not letting us stay put in our happy home where Hubby worked 'normal' hours and we had dinner together as a family most nights. Then the Barganing started - Really honey, you don't HAVE to take this job..... Once we hit Texas soil Depression set in.  Not only did the Army move us back to Texas, they screwed up on housing - we had to live in a tiny 3 bedroom apartment with a borrowed folding table and borrowed air mattresses while we waited for a house that was supposed to be ready upon our arrival.  And finally I Accepted the fact that we were living at Fort Hood and that my soldier would be deploying once again. 

Now, all that doesn't mean I am out of the grief cycle, because I am not.  I've been revisiting one or more of those stages on a daily basis.   For me Denial and Isolation might only last for an hour, and then I move on to Anger, which could last for 20 minutes to five hours.  Typically during this time, I do not talk to anyone on the phone and I just hang out by myself (back to isolation) till I am out of the funk.  For you it may look totally different. When I feel depression hitting, I call a wine meeting on my porch with all my neighbors.  I love to surround myself with like people, people going through the same thing I am, or people that have been there.  (Personally I could NEVER again leave my military family during a deployment.  I did that once, moved to my old hometown for a year while my soldier was deployed and I will be the first to admit that it was the hardest deployment I have ever been though.)  During this rollercoaster of grief I have fully Accepted that my soldier will be deploying once again, I may not be happy about it, but I have accepted that it is happening.  I have friends that have not accepted this reality even when their soldier has deployment orders in hand. Whatever your grief process is, just know that you are not alone, and this is 'normal'.    

So, here are a few things off the top of my head that no one tells you about deployment and believe it or not, they are all normal.....

One or both of you shut down weeks (sometimes months) before deployment.

You will fight A LOT over stupid little things before your soldier deploys. 

You might feel the 'connection' with your soldiers is not as strong as it was last month.  Or you may feel it is stronger. 

Your children will freak out, becoming more moody than ever.  There will be more tears and more fighting as you enter into this separation that is not 'normal'.  A week or two week business trip is what 'normal' kids deal with, not 1 year of being afraid you might never see your Daddy/Mommy again.

Saying good-bye at the manifest site SUCKS.

Your soldier’s flight will change at least 3 times.

You will get to the point to where you just want your soldier to be gone. This is not because you don't love your soldier, but because it is too painful for them to be here anymore.  The countdown is too hard. Their work hours are too long.  The emotional rollercoaster of date’s changing is too much and you are ready for the countdown of their return to start.

Just when you think you can't deal with anything else, something will break, someone will need surgery, or your loving pet will die the moment your soldier boards the plane to leave...

With all of this being said I want you all to know how proud I am of my soldier and how proud I am to be able to say "I am a wife of a US Army Soldier".  My soldier is strong, proud and is a true American hero.  He will fight till the end, but I hope he doesn't have to. 

Toby Keith sings it so well here. (Click to listen)
We are still about ten weeks out from deployment.  Ten weeks. To some that may sounds like a long time, to me I'm afraid to blink ~ I'm afraid if I do then those ten weeks will be gone. If feels as if someone has hit the fast forward button on my life and no matter how much begging I do they won't take their finger off that button. I've (we) been through this before, this time it shouldn't be that hard.  In fact I have convinced myself that this deployment will be easier.  Like I said, we have all been through this before and the kids are all at a better age.  That is what I tell myself.  However, the insomnia I have been having over the last two weeks is telling me a different story.  I tell myself that Boy 1 is at a good place.  Although he is 14 and he going to start driving while his daddy is gone, life will be OK.  He is a good kid, makes good grades and adores his siblings even if he doesn't express it the way I would like to see it on a daily basis.  However if anyone messes with his siblings he has no problem having a little 'come to Jesus' meeting with them.  I hate the pressure this upcoming deployment will put on him.  I already see him stepping into that 'protector' role. Girl, oh Girl.  She is daddy's little girl. She adores that man.  Even when daddy goes TDY (temporary duty station, business trip for you civilians) for a week, she cries.  Last deployment she would just break out in tears at the strangest of moments and when I ask why she would say through sobs, "I miss Daddy".  I expect nothing less of her this next deployment.  Boy 2 ~ oh how I worry about this boy.  He has already started biting his nails down so low they bleed. With deployment looming and being talked about more in our house these past few weeks he has voiced many times that he doesn't want his daddy to go.   Last deployment not only did he bite his nails but he also lost perfect little circle patches of hair.  The doctor and hairdresser both told me it was stress related.  At least this deployment he is verbalizing a little better.  I hope this helps him.  Boy 3 ~ I don't think he fully gets it yet.  He was so young during the last deployment it didn't seem to faze him as much as the other children.  I have no idea what to expect from him.  As for me I will take care of my personal family first and my Army family second.  I will have lots of sleepless nights. I will send lots of care packages.  I will miss my husband so much it will physically hurt.   I will call my battle buddy in the middle of the night. I will go nowhere without my phone.  I will always answer my phone even when in a store (for those of you that know me, know I cannot stand this). My phone will become a part of me. I will know which restaurant has kids eat free night, every night of the week.   I will stay inanely busy.  I will cry, I will laugh, I will sing, I will scream.  I will be so tired that sleep will become my friend. ( I can only hope.) I will stay Army Strong.