Friday, October 23, 2009

Preparing for Deployment

You would think after 4 year long deployments, I would be an old pro at this, but every deployment is different, and so it's time to start thinking about this next one.

Gunner hasn't deployed to Afghanistan before, so I need to have plenty of time to read up on it, and learn about what is going on over there.  I am not totally oblivious to the situation, but I like to be informed.

We need to update the big white notebook that Gunner made for me last deployment.  During his first deployment to Iraq, I couldn't find POA's, and luckily he had given my mom one, so she was able to sign for housing for us.  His last deployment he made an organized notebook (since I am the most unorganized person around) that contained sections with anything and everything I could have needed--POA's for all the different possibilities, his will, daycare information, shot records, educational records, copies of deployment orders, all of our accounts organized with passwords and account numbers, emergency contact numbers, and tons of other information.  I carted that big white book around religiously, and always had anything and everything that I needed at my fingertips.  We still use it consistently, but it's time to start making sure it is updated with all of our new information, stuff about Colorado, and anything else we can think of that I might need.

Pictures.  I need to update the photo frames that each of the kids have with pictures of them with their dad.

We need to make sure that Gunner has an album with pictures of the kids to take with him, and this time, come hell or high water, I am scrapbooking a deployment countdown calendar for him to take with him and one for each of the kids.

I need to have plans in place in case one of the kids gets sick in the middle of the night, which means I need to get out and meet some people.  Ugh.  I'm not the most social person, and I seem to attract people with more issues and drama than any one person should have.  Can't I just meet some people that 1. Like their kids, 2.  Like to get out and do things, 3.  Value education, 4.  Knit, 5. Have financial sense, 6. Like to workout and do triathlons and 5 and 10 K's, 7. That are honest, and 8. Are independent?

This is just me personally, but I can't stand people that sit back and wait for their husband's call every single day, don't go do anything because their husbands want them to wait till they get home, or don't take the opportunity to make their lives better for the entire family.  It's a year people, get out and accomplish something for yourself!  Go back to school, learn something new, get in shape, explore the area you live in, and realize that the year is going to pass and you can either do something with it, or waste it away.  Em told me after last deployment, that she was glad that I took on something so huge (going back to school to become a teacher) when I had all of them to take care of, plus getting in shape, and taking care of everything else.  She told me I was a great example of how to handle deployments and life.  That made me feel good and made me realize what a great example it was to them on how to take a not-so-good situation and turn it into something that made all of us better.  Just my .02 worth.

So, I am making a list of things that need to be covered over the next 10 months before Gunner leaves.  I would rather that he stay here, but I am glad that he has such an important job to do.  Once he is gone, I will wallow in self pity for a few days, and then begin my list of everything that I want to accomplish before he returns.  I'm thinking a marathon, half ironman triathlon, and learning digital photography are going to be at the top of that list.  This time I want the kids to set some deployment goals for themselves and we will pursue those as well.  Maybe they want to learn to ice skate, snowboard, run a 5K themselves?  Maybe they want to dance or learn to cook (since they won't get that lesson at home!) or travel?  Deployments in our household are viewed as a time to make things happen, so that when Gunner comes back he sees that we survived, grew, and even thrived.  While he makes our family complete, I don't want my children to look back on deployments as a time of misery and hopelessness, but rather a time when they missed their dad terribly, were proud of what he was able to accomplish and also had great accomplishments of their own that made them, me, and Gunner proud.

Deployments come whether we like it or not, but take it by the horns, you won't be sorry you did.

25 comments:

Gypsy at heart said...

Very well said!

BabydollNa said...

Thx for the post. it was very well said.. My BF's in the National Guard and this post has helped me alot!

Briar Rose said...

I need to get out too and meet some people. I didn't do that last deployment, it was me and our then 2 year old, and we did our own stuff where we got out. If we hadn't switched places I would love to meet you! And 1. I like my kid; 2. I like to get out and do stuff; 3. I love school and learning; 4. I taught myself how to knit last deployment; 5. I have some financial sense; 6. I don't work out but would love to learn how!; 7. I'm honest; and 8. I'm independent!!!

Allison said...

You had me until you got to number 6.

You are an excellent example of the "right" way to do a deployment. Excellent post.

I'm hosting a giveaway. May a recommend you enter it?

high heels said...

You are absolutely right! I have found that my deployment list not only makes me feel better about myself, but it makes the time go faster. I can't believe at the end of this month that 3 months are finished.

Uncle Dan said...

The family is so proud of you all, what was accomplished previously and what you will be doing in the future.

dutchgirl said...

You are a fantastic example! You have some lucky kiddos.

And I'm not sure I meet all your criteria... but I would be honored to be on your emergency list.

Lisa said...

Great post!
I agree. I am a much happier person when I take care of myself and get out enjoy life during the husband absences and the husband is happy that I am happy. I've seen lots of examples of people that just throw themselves a pity party and suffer for it. Life is what you make of it!

Uncle Dan said...

This article should be published in a military magazine or newspaper.

Crazy Shenanigans said...

Loved this post!

Sarah said...

Wow! Thanks for that post! My husband is still in AIT and I'm starting to get concerned about deployments. Thanks for helping me realize it's part of the job, and it's probably going to happen whether I want it to or not. So, I guess I'm just going to have to do the same and keep myself busy!! =)

d.a.r. said...

Love you.

Seriously this is an abso-freaking-lutely AWESOME post that anyone approaching their first deployment NEEDS to read.

I don't have kids, but I would be your friend if we were closer! I love your list of requirements, haha! You'd think there would be more people that fit, but sadly...no.

And go get'em tiger!! I really admire you!

Anonymous said...

Amen, sister!

Star Henderson said...

This is a great post. I love that you say....you should be a professional at deployments now, but that everyone is different.

This is my 5th as well. To Afghanistan for the 1st time, and I know nothing from the country (weather and terrain) to actual mission. I just UGH! don't want to think about it.

But, girls at Army Wife Network and my kids keep me sane, and staying busy helps A Lot.

Wanted you to know by the way that Army Wife Network is doing a deployment conference at the Elkorn next month: Great way to meet people, get good ideas for care packages, get real about deployments, share yuor advice, and get pampered. We hope you'll join us. More information will go out soon at Army Wife Network.

Hope to see you there, Star

The Bolton Family said...

MY husband just graduated AIT a month ago, and left for Germany 3 days ago. It's not a deployement, I know, but I never thought about using the time he's away to accomplish so much. I have a 3 year old too, so I will definitely be finding things to do/learn/accomplish while he's gone!

Thanks for the encouraging words!

Spanish Princess said...

Again!?! Girl, didn't we just do this? Why don't you just move to Miami, I'll help with the kids, you can give me advice on new babies and once a week we can just say, "To hell with it all!" and head for the beach. O.k. it sounded like a good plan! You know I'm here if you need anything!

Emily B said...

I love Snapfish.com for making photo calenders because you can even put pictures in the actual days (say for birthdays and such.)

Emily B said...

P.S. What an amazing attitude to have for deployments. Surely an excellend example for your kids!

American Army Wife said...

I am addicted to your blog and this last one isamazing. My husband is currently in south korea but right after he get home from there he isheaded out on his first offical deployment. Heis going to Afgahnistan as well. Thanks for being a wonderful example for me on how to handle deployments!

Sara said...

You know, last deployment it never ocurred to me to make a list of goals. I went to work, saw friends and family, worked out and got deep into crossfit... It just never occurred to me that making a list would be nice. And why aren't we as dedicated to life's goals when husbands are home? Certainly they don't hold us back. I think I am going to make a list of goals during the pregnancy though. I think life is going to be complicated on the other end of this so I need to accomplish what I can right now.

Ashley said...

Just finishing up month one of our first deployment...thanks for the post. I loved #8 I am incredibly independent and I don't think I would be a good wife during deployment if I wasn't.

Queenie Jeannie said...

HOOAH!!!

Hugs from someone who knows!!!

The Mrs. said...

your so together. really im in awe of you.

you should just move up this way and we can lock the dash brothers and your kids in the big playroom together and toss food in there every once in a while.

Julie said...

Hi! I am a new reader :) We just finished our 2nd deployment and I totally agree that deployments are time to make things happen. I couldn't just sit at home and wait. I made plans too. And what a great idea to have your kids make some too :) It is the best way to get through the separations!

Marilyn Sue said...

I really liked "AN UNEXPECTED LIGHT: TRAVELS IN AFGHANISTAN" which was published in 2001. I can try and get it from paperbackswap.com (I am awash in credits) if you would like to read it. It is basically background on Afghanistan and the struggles there when the Russians were fighting, but I found it very interesting and applicable in that the writer spent a lot of time with the guerilla fighters. Some would now be Taliban and some anti-Taliban . . .