As you all know, Trevor is in the last weeks of his year-long deployment. Or, we are, I should say. He may be the one gone, but this is most certainly a team effort. To be completely honest, I'm exhausted with it. Many of you have already heard me say "OK. I'm tough. I'm strong. I've proven I can do this...again. Can he come home now?"
Many people complain about missing their partners when they're away for a weekend, or a week, or even a couple weeks. Trevor has been away for drill weekends and many 2-3 week trainings over the years, and I don't even think about it. Really. So what do I say to those who complain? Nothing. There are many military spouses/significant others who get upset about it, but what good does that do? I do think it's a little silly when people have a hard time going a weekend without their partner, but that's not because of our deployment experience, that's just because. Regardless, their "long time" is a week, our "long time" is a year, and there are many in this state whose "long time" is two years. It's all about perspective.
I can't even put a number on how often I hear things like "I don't know how you do it" or "You're so strong. I could never do it." Deployments are tough. Heck, the preparation and train-up is tough. Even the reintegration afterwards is tough. Trevor has been deployed or deploying since early 2007. No breaks. We found out about this deployment while he was still on his last one. Truthfully, there are days for all of us where we don't know how we do it either. But when push comes to shove, we just lace up our boots and do it. And, most of us, without complaint. Why, you ask? Because it's worth it.
Last night I went to dinner with a friend, Monica. Her husband is Paul, who is one of Trevor's roommates in Kuwait. I've talked with her at some deployment-related events over the last year, but we have never actually hung out until last night. We ate and talked for two and a half hours, you'd have never known that was our first time really spending time together. We talked about the deployment, family, medical stuff, foods, moving, work...you get the point. Monica and I have things in common, yes, but there are a lot of differences. I think it's safe to say we probably wouldn't have crossed paths if it weren't for this deployment, but I'm so glad we did. Sounds pretty great, right? It gets better. I have so many friends like that, some closer than others, I couldn't list them right now if I tried. You may have heard the term Military Family (Mil Fam) and that's exactly what we have. People who will do anything for you and expect nothing in return just because they're awesome. Don't get me wrong, we have awesome non-military friends, too. These people just have an understanding of life, gratitude, and sacrifice with a "roll up your sleeves and get to work" attitude that's near impossible to find. They will show up at our house while we're at work and stain our deck, move us into a five-bedroom house in a few hours, fly across the country to come to a going-away party, and arrange a surprise second anniversary party in Kuwait for a husband who is a world away. I realize I've officially stepped onto my soap box, but I can't help it. We have the best friends in the world.
I would never trade time with Trevor for a chance to get more money; it's just not what's important to me. But when trying to make lemonade out of lemons, as they say, it is a perk of deployments. We've been able to pay off both of our cars and we're one month away from paying off Trevor's student loan, too. Furthermore, we've got our savings right where we'd like it with the opportunity to watch it grow yet. Again, I wouldn't send him away to get the bigger paychecks, but we'll make the most of it when he's doing what's asked of him.
Some days I feel like when Trevor deployed it was as if we were watching our life progress in a movie. Then he got up, pushed pause, and left. Now I've been staring at the "pause" screen while he went and watched his own movie for the past eleven months. Soon he'll come back and we'll hit play again, but that's a whole lot of waiting. Regardless, I still say we're pretty darn lucky and I wouldn't change a thing.