Monday, October 14, 2013

Preparing for Departure

It's Military Monday! Time to talk all things unique to this lifestyle we live! Eights on the Move hosts a fantastic linkup for military bloggers regarding many relevant issues to our population. Today we are talking Departures. Whether it's Unaccompanied Tours which seem to last forever, deployments, school, or training, we have probably all experienced the 'goodbyes'. The question is how do you prepare for the goodbyes? Is there a trick to making them easier? I'd like to say yes; however, it really depends on the couple or family.

When it comes to deployment, we usually put a little more effort into our goodbyes. I always feel like we need to stockpile moments and memories for our time apart. We usually take the last weekend before goodbye and make it family time. We might visit an amusement park one day and do a special dinner on the other. The fun of the weekend helps distract us from the impending departure. Keeps things as happy as they can be. When the kids were little little we always bought them something special from Daddy. This was before Daddy Dolls were so widely available. It certainly helped.

Keeping older kids informed and prepared is the most important thing you can do before deployment. In my opinion, of course. We start approximately one month before deployment bringing the departure topic up to the kids. We don't overkill the topic but subtly mention here or there 'Dad is leaving soon'. I try to keep it upbeat and encouraging with them. I don't teach the kids to be strong and unemotional. I teach my kids to be empathetic and a support to one another. I want them to know their negative feelings are normal and acceptable.

During deployment, there are even times my kids will see me cry. Not excessively but sometimes it just can't be helped. About midpoint through deployment, I will get thrown off by some obstacle I am just too mentally exhausted to handle and end up crying. I tell them deployment is hard and it makes me sad sometimes. We all agree, complain a moment, and then move on. This is our life.

When my husband is required to leave for short periods of time, like two weeks or less, we don't really pay any attention. Lately he has been away more often. I just let him do his thing. As much as I'd love to help him pack, I stay away. He is a last minute packer which drives me crazy. I won't even attempt to assist him in his midnight fueled packing rampage. Nope. I just grab the remote and turn up the volume.

Even though we miss my husband anytime he leaves, we tend to look at his short time away in a positive light. Late nights, pizza dinners, and way more silliness are things we look forward too. Maybe it's a great way for the kids and I to reconnect? They get a little more of my attention when dad is away. And they get away with a little more. What kid doesn't love that?!?


  1. I view the short trips away just like you do. There is always a positive aspect to it. Honestly, other than deployment, we've never been serperated very long. When he was training after we first got married, I would fly all the time to visit. Since we've had kids. there have only been two weeks to the field and only a handful of one night things. I'm so glad I haven't had to worry about the girls missing daddy too much yet.

  2. Short trips away are always the easiest, I just continue to go about my days as normal.

  3. My husband and I just realized that we have spent as much time apart in our relationship as together. It's crazy to think! He was away for four months for TDY training - and now 12 months for an unaccompanied tour. We've spent 16 months in close proximity. And now, I have to wait three more months till he gets back!

  4. You're so awesome for participating so much :) Love it!! I admire your perspective and approach with your kiddos. I'm sure they love extra Mommy time too!