Dear Martha, I recently found out that my husband will deploy for the third time. He should get out soon and we were hoping our days of deployments are over. I was, or thought I was, prepared to hear that he would deploy. But Martha I am heart broken I’m not sure why I am so upset this time. We have a child that is almost three and I’m worried for her and for myself and of course my husband’s safety. I should be able to handle this we have been through this before and this deployment will be shorter than any of the others. What can I do to be strong for my family? Any advice on how to be strong for my little girl?
Discouraged Army Wife
Dear Discouraged Army Wife-
First and foremost darlin’ let me say that I’m addin’ ya’ll to my list of folks to pray for, I’m gonna ask God to watch over ya’ll and keep ya safe. Aside from that there ain’t nothin’ I can do or say that’s gonna make this situation any easier, safer or better for ya. Which makes me about as useful as buttons on a dish rag, and that’s probably how useful you feel as well when faced with something like a deployment when ya thought ya’ll was done with them. I don’t know much, but I do know two things… how to get a grass stain out of denim and that being upset about a deployment is as natural to an Army wife as teats on a sow. Of course yer upset darlin’… and just because ya’ll have done it before don’t make it any easier!
Here’s what burns my biscuits- when we get upset, angry, or heart broken about something like this we think we oughta hide it from our kids, because that’s a sign of strength. I’m sorry ya’ll but that ain’t worth the powder to blow it to hell! Our children know when we’re hiding somethin’- my four kids have given Oscar worthy performances pretendin’ they didn’t know what they were gettin’ for Christmas- you can’t hide nothin’ from them! So no matter what ya do yer little one is gonna know yer upset. Seein’ you tryin’ to be strong by ignorin’ it or hidin’ it from her is just gonna confuse her. What ya ought to be doin’ is usin’ this as a teachable moment.
What we ought to be doin’ is teachin’ our children how to handle the upset, the anger and the heart break that comes from being a military spouse- not how to hide from it. You’ve been through this twice already ya said- so I’m sure ya have a routine that helps ya get through it, after the initial shock wears off. For us, it’s about makin’ sure Daddy’s packed, writing letters for him to read on the trip, havin’ a special meal planned for our last night together, etc. By showin’ them that we have emotions like anger, frustration and sadness, we’re teachin’ them to be human beings. We talk about what it’s gonna be like when Daddy is away, how much we’ll miss him and what each of us can do about it. By showin’ them how to constructively face those emotions, we’re teachin’ them to be constructive and good citizens. Cause I don’t know about ya’ll but I’d rather be payin’ for college than therapy years from now!
So in case ya think ya gotta be strong by hidin‘ yer emotions- think again Discouraged… the last thing ya ought to be doin‘ is denyin‘ yer own heart. You’re strong enough to survive it- if you are strong enough not to deny it!