Monday, April 12, 2010

Deployment Question #4--Saying Goodbye

This might be a touchy, sad, subject, but I want to know what y'all do when you say goodbye.

Do you take your kids?  Stick around the entire time?  Drop him off?

The second time Gunner deployed to Iraq, was probably the easiest send-off.  I was 12 weeks pregnant, and we took the kids to school after he said goodbye to them, and I sat there and waited with him.  When it came time for the guys to march off, there were wives wailing, throwing themselves on the ground, screaming, chasing after them in formation, and sobbing.  This of course made all the kids even more upset, and I was relieved that I was there alone and didn't have to put my kids through it.

When the buses pulled off, I waved to him, he smiled, waved, and I turned and left.  I was not one of the many families that was chasing after the bus and wailing.  I was so embarrassed for them and their Soldier (I am easily embarrassed for people, probably way too much!).  I remember one wife who wanted to take one more picture of her daughter with her husband and she told her daughter to jump into formation, and she was furious when he wouldn't stop and he barked at her.  Not a very happy send-off for them.  

The last time Gunner deployed, we took the kids with us, his parents and my mom.  Of course that lead to a few more tries before they actually left, and the last time it was just Gunner, me, and my mom.  We took a few pictures, and we left before they chased families away.  Gunner said it wasn't pretty by the end.

Maybe I just can't take the drama of it all.  Sure I miss him, but it doesn't any of us a bit of good to act like a fool. Maybe acting like that works for you and your family, heck, tell me I'm wrong, but I still won't be joining in with the hoopla. 

This time, without family close by, we will have to take all the kiddos.  Abs will not handle it well, and Junior feeds off of Ab's moods.  (Let me tell you, that is LOADS of fun.)  

I'm thinking we might go do something special after we drop him off.  Maybe the Airplane Restaurant and we can hope for better results?  Any suggestions?  

28 comments:

d.a.r. said...

I don't have any two legged kids, so my opinion is probably worthless, but I am more of a "band-aid ripper offer" person myself. I couldn't stomach the drama, tension, crying, etc. surrounding the big goodbye...so we just kissed quietly in a small parking lot and then I barely slowed down enough to let him jump out of the car in front of his Company office. It made it a lot easier for me.

I vote for doing something fun...try to get back into "normal" stuff right away. If the kiddos see you holding it together, it will probably be easier for them, too.

Good luck.

Mary Madeline said...

We have taken the kids both times. They are older, but it was still very hard. I just wanted to be with him as long as I could. I know what you mean about those people acting a fool, chasing after the buses. That is no good for anyone. I think planning something fun with the kids is a great idea. Good luck!!!

Kasey said...

I did take my kids but they were so small that I don't actually think that they knew what was going on.

See, I am a fan of ripping the band-aid. I stuck around for a little bit (maybe 30 minutes?) but when they started getting in formation, we hugged and kissed and said good-bye and I left. And that was it. Apparently there were wives there they actually had to MAKE leave but I am just not one for that kind of drama.

Even after R&R, I actually just dropped him off at the door of the airport. Was I going to go in and sit in misery waiting for his plane to come take him away? No thanks. I was told I was cold and uncaring for that one, lol.

Queenie Jeannie said...

I've been through it three times.

1st - Two older kiddos went to school (they didn't want to but I made 'em!), and I brought him in alone. This was my first deployment, we had just moved halfway across the country, I didn't know ANYONE and we were about to go to war. Oh yeah, I was a brand new Army wife too!! We got there early, parked far away and he let me hug him "one more time" until I was ready to let him go. *gosh* tearing up just thinking about it!! Hard, hard, hard. I left and didn't see/hear anyone else. Thomas likes to get there first, say goodbye, and get his gameface on before everyone else gets there.

2nd time: Three kiddos now, Bella just 4 1/2 months old. Frankly I was just so tired (Bella was a VERY sick, VERY non-sleeping baby!!!) that I couldn't really drum up the energy to get emotional. I also had to look forward to a big move a month later - without him. Again, got there early, parked far away, totally private.

3rd time: I went alone with him. For some reason this one was almost the hardest. I knew what was coming and this one was going to be fore 15 months - ugh!!! I wanted to stay, until I couldn't anymore. But he said that was harder on him. So I had to respect his wishes and leave.

I can't imagine the utter selfishness of these women carrying on like that though!!! They are making a hard situation soooo much harder...on everyone! Your kids will look to the parent to see how to handle any situation. Good grief! How embarrassing for the soldier too!

We're Army wives - suck it up and drive on! And I know you will be fine hun!!!!!

Briar Rose said...

We have been through one overseas deployment, and it was tough. We took our daughter (had just turned 2) and she didn't really understand what was going on. But I took him to the Company and dropped him off so he could check in and get his weapon and I went and got him some supper (he had to check in at 6:30pm) from Sonic. Brought that back to him and we sat outside and ate and talked. Then we went to the gym and sat there and watched as some families went absolutely bonkers and hysterical and kids were screaming and crying. We sat there and played with our daughter in a corner while we just waited for something to happen. Finally they said that there was 10 minutes left for goodbyes. So we had family prayer and walked him outside so he could check his carry ons to see if they were small enough (back pack with laptop in it) and get on the bus. Then we walked to the truck and didn't look back. Went home and got some sleep (it was 11pm when we got home and we lived on post only a mile from the gym).

This time I am stressing because I am due the day before they start leaving. So I am pretty sure that it will be harder on all of us. And our daughter is going to be a month shy of 5 and is already taking it hard. So I am really not looking forward to this at all. The only thing I can say is that thank goodness it is only a 12 month deployment and not 15 months this time!

Erin said...

I am so with you. It may seem heartless to others, but I just like to rip the bandaid off. I don't like the messy goodbyes, more like "see ya later." Last time, I didn't even stay with him as long as I could or go down to where they were all waiting. I dropped him off early at the BN. I just wanted to get the goodbye over with so we could get to tackling the deployment and get it over with! Although, I am sure to be more emotional this time now that we have a kiddo.

Carissa said...

Our daughter was only 3 months old the last time he left so she wasn't phased by anything, but at every goodbye I drop him off, we say our goodbye privately in the parking lot and then I leave. I would rather have a calm, private goodbye and feel like I got a good one that having him rush off to the formation and me feeling like I got ripped off from a good goodbye.

On a Journey said...

I don't care for the dramatics either. 1st deployment: His whole family showed up for the goodbye ceremony. We sat through the goodbye speech and then sat around a table just talking with the family. (This was miserable for me). He finally grabbed my hand and drug me outside where we said our own private goodbye and he kissed my tummy to say goodbye to baby. Then he went and got his things on the bus. His mom wanted to wait around until the last everything but I had to go so I got in the car and left.
2nd Deployment: After all the train up time they had one more night in town so I went up to the post that they were deploying out of and we did dinner and just hung out with each other (I left the kids with my parents...they were small). I spent the night there and then we had breakfast with his whole group before saying our goodbyes.

Joannafesto said...

Okay, I am child-free and older than you average Army wife. My husband usually deploys in more of a team like setting. Usually the time leading up to the deployment is so stressful, I am almost glad to see him leave. I know that sounds awful, and I adore my husband, but chasing after the bus is not my style. (Plus, I don't want him getting it into his head that he is Elvis, or something...) Seriously, it is really personal, but I do think some people get their kids a little more "spun-up" than necessary. If you are going to freak-out when your husband leaves, you may want to leave the kids at home and have them say good-bye to Daddy there. Just keep in mind it may be more emotional or less emotional than you thought. However you respond is no measure of your love for your spouse. I guess I am of the "band-aid ripper" school of getting it over with and moving on.

Amy said...

I've always taken the kids, but in three deployments I never saw any of the drama that you mentioned. Tears yes, but wailing and chasing after them? Wow! That's crazy.

If you're concerned about episodes like that that could pop up again maybe you can have a special goodbye ceremony, of sorts, of your own with the kids at home. Then take Gunner yourself.

Mrs. Bierschenk said...

Ok so I feel silly adding my two sense in here because I haven't been through a deployment. The closest we've gotten to being seperated was Ranger school, for us that was had it's only personal trials added in.

But if you wanted to know, I always drove, and stayed in the car. I'm truly afriad of the people that wail and cry furiously, there just is something strange about that. Don't get me wrong I love my husband with everything I have but I know I need to show him I can be strong too. If that was the last sight he had of me I'm pretty sure he wouldn't want to leave me behind for fear something would happen. That's just how he is. Now this is going to sound really cheesy but I always remember the first Army wives where Denise is saying goodbye to Frank and he says something about "no tears, tears mean fear, I'll be back before you know it", I need my husband to know I'm not too afraid to face this life because it's his dream and he is living it.

Mrs. Muffins said...

Anytime I've had to say good-bye {we don't actually say "good-bye" though...} I usually stand there, paralyzed and crying until I'm absolutely sure he's not coming back... and then I leave. Still crying. Same thing when I had my little girl last time, although she was only a few months old, I held her in my arms as I cried and we stood outside and watched his plane take off before we finally got in the car and went home. I don't know how Riley will act once she's older but it's important to me that she's always there. *hugs*

stacie-marie said...

the last time my husband deployed he was still my boyfriend so our goodbye was 2 months earlier when he was on leave in Cali and when he left it was one last phone call and some texts before he was instructed to turn off the phone by the pilot.. when he came home on mid tour leave the airline let me go sit with him at the gate where we sat in silence and held one another and when he boarded I cried and left.. Why was I going to wait for the plane to leave it wasnt like it was going to change anything.. the thing is my now husband in deploying again and june and I picture screaming and wailing and think that just makes it so much harder on the soldier.. my soldier hates when I cry cus it makes him sad and I do my best to not cry till he is out of sight but wailing and screaming would break his heart and is that really the last image you want your soldier to have of you for however long I sure wouldnt

Brandi said...

Private Ryan and I have both shed a tear or two anticipating his leaving for training soon. I know it's not a big long deployment, but it sure feels big to us, and we have a lot of worries, same as anyone, I suppose.

We have left the choice of whether to go to MEPS and say goodbye or say her goodbyes the night before and go to school to Teenybop, because he will be in a hotel the night before he "ships out". She is mature for six years old, and we feel that she is old enough to decide for herself. Also, I don't want to be the one who "made" her go or not go. I think she will choose to come, and I don't know that if that will make it easier or harder, honestly.

I know that it will be hard on all of us, I know that the kids will cry, and I'm betting that I will cry too. But we will get it together and be able to talk about things. We will discuss how crying is a normal human reaction to fear and sadness, and that it is okay to cry. But we will also have a pep/power talk about how we are a strong family and he will be back "soon". We will make girlie plans to pass the time, and we will count down until his training is done.

Hopefully then we will know when he can come home for a visit.

Jeannette said...

We are about to have his first deployment and Little Bit will be just about walking and talking by that time. I don't know what we will do.

When I took him to leave for BCT, AIT, and to come up here half a year before I would follow I put him on a plane, cried as it rolled away and took off, then waited another 10 minutes before leaving. I've been on 3 flights so far that for one reason or another had to come back and land so I always wait about 10 minutes after I put someone on a plane. I don't remember crying until he was already loaded on the plane and couldn't see me. Not that I planned not to cry in front of him but I don't think it was real until he was on the plane and I was not.

Gypsy at heart said...

Now, from the other side of the room. My career military father was always leaving and it became quite commonplace to me. I don't remember any of the departures, so my mother must have spared us the drama. I only remember the long years without him and the way everything had changed when he came home. No telephoning, no e-mail, letters and news few and far between. Times were different then and families not as prepared.
Hats off to all you gals who keep the home fires burning and make those guys anxious to return and settle back in. Take care of yourselves, too!Our grateful appreciation to you all.....

kacysue said...

I just wrote about this very topic today.
I don't have any kids, though. For us (ahem.. ME), it's usually an emotional, tearful goodbye but it's definitely not chasing down the bus or trying to screw up formation. That's crazy! I haven't seen that yet, but I'm sure I will.

Amy said...

We just went through this yesterday. Our situation was a little different because not only are we a reserve unit (my husband is AGR) but there are also only 16 guys deploying - so everything is on a much smaller scale.

We actually decided that it was best if we said goodbye to him and left instead of waiting for the bus to leave and him leaving us.

We got there about 2 hours before the bus was scheduled to leave, we hung out for a little over an hour and then the kids and I left. We said our goodbyes, kissed and were gone - no tears shed by anyone. But I had also promised them we were heading directly to the park afterward too, so I'm sure they were looking forward to that.

Vintage Love and Photographs said...

It depends on the deployment and how it went down. But I am glad to see that I'm not the only one to not be 'dramatic', I could never act like that in public and I'm a reserved person...to each thier own though.

Aubrey said...

My hubby deployed two weeks ago. I was sooo glad he decided to say goodbye to the kids the night before! I had to have him at the company by 4am! Although we were told we'd have a four hour window to say our goodbyes...which I prefer not the long drawn out ones! Anyway, the four hour goodbye ended up being less than ten minutes...then I stood out in the cold for a couple hours waiting till he left on the bus for the airport. I managed to steal on last kiss before he left!

BryceandWhit said...

Just barely went threw this crappy time 8 weeks ago...Hubby had to be at the company area at 2am so I was tired and everything but I think it made things worse...We were staying in a hotel on base and as soon as we left the hotel the water works started to work...And I mean work well...I could not stop it and I didnt want him to see me so upset but I couldnt stop...He kept on saying "are you going to be okay" and I was thinking no but you cant tell the Army "well since my wife is so upset can I not be deployed" oh I wish he could of...
We made it to the company area and we just sat there and talked and i cryed and he just wrapped his arms around me...Then they said "FORMATION" and we just said our good byes there cause who wants to sit in a truck at 3am crying not even knowing which one is your hubby, knowing that you wont get any more hugs or kisses... Yes there were some wives sitting there waiting but First Sgt. asked all wives and familys to just leave cause they will not be able to see their soldier any more...So most made the good choice to just leave...But some where taking pics some were joking and lets be honest at that time im not in the joking mood at all...

I think it will be good for you take the kids out and get there minds off what just happened...Best of wises for your good byes hopefully there are no crazy wives running after buses...

silver star said...

The first time I dropped my husband off at the airport and drove away, his flight was delayed a few hours so we sat at home and said our goodbyes. Then on my way home, he called and told me his flight was cancelled, and he couldn't leave until the next day. The next day, I went inside the airport, we sat at a table by security, we didn't know I could go to the gate, so we cried our eyes out at Starbucks until it was almost time for his flight to leave. There was no line at security, and since my husband was going to meet his unit at the mob site, it wasn't a big deal.

I would think that if you make this really big deal about going somewhere fun after daddy leaves, it will help, they'll look forward to doing something fun after a sad moment in their lives. I wish you all the luck in the world with Abs and Junior!

Crazy Shenanigans said...

I hope you guys can get out of there before the super sadness begins. Hopefully Abs and Junior will be ok!

Amber said...

We do the quick drop off, a hug a quick kiss and "I love you" and done. I might shed a few tears but I save the ugly sobs for when I get in my car.

DHs deployments are much different than most army units though, no formations or formalities.

ReneeT said...

Good morning! We're at Fort Carson in CO. I'm like you in that I can't take the drama of the departure. It's bad enough that we've been watching our soldier prepare to leave, having one foot out the door long before they actually get on the plane. So my defense is to focus on things I enjoy, hobbies, social group activities, finishing my masters degree, etc. We avoid the drama of departure day by having him say goodbye to the boys at home so they're not subjected to such distressed and wailing families. I also know that when my husband gets to the departure site, he's focused on other things, and I won't stand there wishing for one more minute you can't have, watching those wailing families. It is better for us to have our quick goodbye at the truck, and I drive away. Normally, I will have planned something for that day, even if it is just cleaning out a closet. Anything to get our family focus away from the departure. Then we are able to focus on the countdown (the return) and living rather than the absence (the lack). I wonder if some families know that it is ok to actually LIVE while their soldier is gone!

Anonymous said...

I'm also not one for drama. When GI Joe left last time, I was 9 weeks pregnant with our first, so I haven't had to figure out the kid thing yet.

But for us, I'll say good-bye at the car. That way it is more private and easier (for both of us). It is hard to say good-bye, but being dramatic about it just makes it worse (at least for me it would).

Post Tenebras Lux said...

Wow! I can't even believe people would act like that in public! We've done the quick drop off and we've done the wait and wait and finally leave because it's getting too hard to take. But I've not seen people wailing or falling down--goodness!

Anonymous said...

I went thru this a few weeks ago and reading the stories brings back vivid memories! *tears*
We were planning to do the drop and run for this 2nd deployment but.. I guess I'm sentimental and wanted to be by his side as long as I could. We just waited in the hanger for an hour or so and he wanted me in his lap (which, he never does unless he's about to leave!!!)
Most of us walked out to wave at the buses- I thought it was cute and it made me feel good to do it. I think that deployment departure time is not the time to make judgements about how people respond.
The 1st deployment I was still living with my parents and dad wouldn't let me go! I'm glad I did not, but I am still mad at him for it.