Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Our Normal" Between Deployments

Guest blogger Christina Piper describes how deployment affects daily life for military Families, even during the coveted "dwell time" when servicemembers are at home with their Families.  It's a powerful post with which many Army Families can identify and empathize.  Read more of Christina's posts at "Her War, Her Voice" blog.

I am thinking that we might be hitting our normal, at least normal for us. We still have crazy hours, and the Army is still a very active role in our lives but deployment shenanigans have almost disappeared.

It has almost been a year and a half since his last return from war. The dreams have stopped. I am not jumping at fireworks, and his jumps are not as noticeable. I am use to sleeping next to him again, and will rarely double check if he is really there. I am not shocked to hear his voice in the mornings, or as annoyed when my stuff is moved around in the bathroom. There is now space for him. There is now space for Us.

The kids are coming around. My girl lives for every moment spent in his arms. She watches for any opening to touch him, and love him. She is no longer crying for him at night, and looks forward to doing anything that he is a part of. Her laugh fills the air when he is around.

My son is still giving him a hard time, but there are moments that his walls come down. There are moments when he will cuddle up in his lap and chill. He can’t wait for wrestle time, playful arguments, and any sort of competition. He struggles with showing his love, but it is there.

I see my husband relaxing into this life, again, and there is a sense of peace in him, at times. I also see him react to the news that his guys are going again, and I know that he would go with them, given the choice. I don’t feel him flinch when I touch him, and his smile is reaching his eyes, at last.

I am beginning to let my guard down, and that scares me. I am enjoying normal in this moment, and I am waiting for the next set of orders. Deployment gnaws at the back of my mind like a rat trying to get into a seed bag, persistent and relentless. Guilt swims in my veins at every word from others facing the “D” word. I cry, and I know that that will be us again.

I fear the fourth long deployment. I fear it, and I know that it is coming. It is coming like the tide, and I don’t know when it will arrive. But I feel it lingering there waiting to break up our normal. Waiting to tear at us, and challenge us again. Waiting to put tears in my children’s eyes, and waiting to take him away. Waiting to take him away from us, yet again.

We will live in normal while we can, for as long as we can. I will breathe his smell in deep, for I know what it is like when that smell is absent for a year or more. I will be thankful for this time, and cherish it while I can. I will hold him in spades, wash his underwear, and deal with his foul habits, because when he is called again to war I will need to look back on normal.

More Resources for Deployment Cycle Support


Army Well-Being said...

Many thanks to Christina Piper, who writes for "Her War, Her Voice" blog. Christina shares what it is like between deployments and we appreciate her willingness to share openly what it is like to be a military spouse.

Anonymous said...

Such a touching and honest blog, nice to get an insider feel for what it is like. I appreciate her sharing, because it lets the rest of us realize how small our problems really are. The very most important thing is that soldiers volunteer for service, which makes this blog so very important to read and share.

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