Earlier this week I got a package in the mail with generic deployment information. One of the booklets in the package was titled “preparing for deployment stress”. A bit like closing the barn door after the horses get out. Drew has been gone for over a month now.
This isn’t his first deployment. Prior to that I’d already spent months on end away from home working in the US and India. Temporary separations are pretty much the norm for us. I know we’re an oddity in some sections of the military community because of it. Usually it’s just the serving member who’s gone and always the spouse left at home. Not at our house. I’ve spent far more time away from home due to work over the years than Drew has.
So, while I miss him when he’s not here, I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself and the fur babies while he’s away. With occassional spurts of whining injected into my conversation and blog posts.
I’m certain that the services offers by the MFRC for remaining spouses or families are very useful for some people. Personally, I’m not a fan. On his last deployment I found their continual “check in” calls a bigger source of stress than Drew’s absence. Some woman called me repeatedly at work trying to convince me to take days off to attend coffee sessions and gatherings with other wives during the day. Despite my repeated requests for her to stop calling and my refusals to attend daytime events, the woman wouldn’t stop calling me at work and home. Drove me bonkers.
This time round they are holding events on evenings and weekends along with the daytime activities. This I know because I’m receiving an event list via email. Nothing on the list has interested me to date. Mostly because I don’t like being put into situations with groups of strangers. Especially if the only thing we have in common is that our spouses are deployed.
Want to increase my deployment stress to the point where I cease to function? Make me attend MFRC events.
This trip Drew had the option to refuse to provide the MFRC with my contact info and for that I am incredibly grateful.
Everyone else – the rear party, chaplain, etc. – all know how to get in touch with me if necessary. Thus the occassional email, package, or phone message left on voice mail. But unlike before – the calls are infrequent and there’s no pressure to skip work to attend their events.
I have a great support network. Friends and former co-workers. My awesome neighbours. People who I spend time with socially at least once a month when Drew is home. That’s continued since he’s been gone. Add to that work, school and blogging and I barely have time left to breathe.
Who needs to prepare for deployment stress? At this point – not me!