For my children, life can be tough. Their dad is home and gone again for various reasons. This time is no different. Over this past year, he has been to training for a month or two in preparation for deployment. This isn’t their first rodeo, but like all life experience, it doesn’t matter how many times you do it, it doesn’t make it easier. It also is never the same. They are now older compared to last time. Dad has now been gone for one month. This time there is no break. It’s a straight shot. Nine months long without dad.
This will be the third deployment for the children. I feel seasoned, probably because I am a veteran myself and understand the life. There is only one goal in a deployment. Survive. That is on both ends. You can’t expect more. If you do, you will fail. It’s simple to expect so little because frankly, you have no idea what will happen. You don’t how you might react to your children or how the stress will affect you. You don’t know how it will be that one day you want to be out of the Friday night pizza rut and instead of ordering the traditional pepperoni pizza, you get a special BBQ chicken bacon pizza because, well, the kids LOVE all of those toppings right? Only to have it backfire and the kids throw tantrums. Tantrums? Really? At least the 8 year old has completely manned up and simply said, please don’t order this again. Oh wait, the 8 year old, he has taken charge a lot recently hasn’t he.
You start to see all the small things, like the 8 year old behaving extremely well because for some reason it is taking a toll on you. It’s taking a toll because the 6 year old and the 3 year old miss dad a whole lot and are having a rough go. The 8 year old suddenly has a lot of responsibility. Then you feel terrible because he shouldn’t have to shoulder that weight. He needs to stop being a parent. You hear him trying to parent.
When did this happen? Where have I been? Oh yeah, trying to do everything else needed in the house, the dishes, the groceries, the dogs…maybe I need to just, just what exactly?
I’ve been in this spot before. This is what happens with children and deployment. It’s a delicate balance that you never feel satisfied with. You don’t think you are doing it right. You think it is all wrong. You have to let it go. It’s okay to have pepperoni pizza every week because it’s comfortable to them. It’s okay to have dirty dishes a couple days. It’s okay if you don’t get that load of laundry done. Household chores start to creep up as more important than your children.
Survive, only goal during a deployment. Survive isn’t clean dishes. Survive equates sanity and happiness, honestly it does. Your children need you to be happy and be there for them, so if it means skipping dishes for day, do it.