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.
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