I have friends whose husbands travel for work.
They are gone maybe three days,
sometimes a week.
My brother travels quite a bit with his job
and leaves behind his wife and two little boys.
Whenever these people speak of enduring their separation,
they always make note that it is "nothing like what you have to go through
being a Navy wife!"
I have fellow wives in several branches of the military
whose husbands are going through their second and third
extreemly long tours in Iraq or Afghanistan.
When I speak to them about the separation I endure,
I always make sure to acknowledge
that they have had it way worse than I do.
But the truth is gone is gone is gone.
Whether it be 4 days or 400 days,
it's still a change in your routine,
a challenge to your everyday life
and a hill to climb.
There is no competition when it comes to your own personal life
and how you and your family copes with any separation.
For some families, one week is traumatic,
for some of us it's chump change.
Likewise, some of us might freak out over 9 month deployments
while our counterparts who are enduring first or second
12 or 18 month tours in the middle east may scoff at that.
My point is that separation is personal and unique.
Life stages affect how you cope.
Financial situations affect how you cope.
Geographical position affects how you cope.
There are so many factors that are unique to each family
that I cannot have more or less compassion
for one situation over another.
Gone is gone is gone.
So if you are reading this and you are like my sister in law
who has to make it through a week here and there,
I feel for you girl!! It's not easy!
And just because my separations are longer doesn't mean
that I am not here to support you.
If you are reading this and you are well acquainted
with your sailor or soldier or even your civilian husband
being gone for abnormally long tours,
please know that I am in awe of your strength
and I hope that you don't think me weak for missing my sailor
for less time than you are missing yours.
When I look back through our career in the Navy
(and it is OUR career),
I am amazed at how much I've grown
through having to deal with handling things on my own.
When I add up all of the deployments David has done over the last 17 years,
his total time away from the family is almost 6 years!!!
Some of those deployments have been harder than others.
David started his deployments on boomer submarines
back in the day when there was no e-mail.
We were allowed 40 written words per week
that were transmitted to several people
before it ever reached my sailor.
Phone calls almost never happened during those first deployments.
David found out that I had given birth to our second baby,
that he was a boy
and that I had to have a c-section
all through a red cross message.
He wasn't even able to call home
to talk to me until Michael was five days old.
When e-mail became available,
we submarine wives were thrilled!
Finally we could communicate (sorta) with our sailors.
For us, the e-mail worked about half the time,
but that was so much better than 40 words a week.
David also did some deployments in the black ops world.
Those were hard because so much was unknown to me.
I had no idea where he was going, what he was doing
or even when he'd be back.
Phone calls were sporatic,
but there was really little or no communication during those deployments.
Now on the carrier,
it is a completely different world!
We have so much communication through e-mail and by phone.
Because these deployments are so much longer
than the ones we endured in the submarine world,
I am thankful for the added technology.
I know that many of my friends
whose husbands are on the ground in the middle east
really appreciate things like Skype and international calling cards.
We've come a long way since the days of 40 words per week!
As we enter phase one of "Operation Lone Ship" today,
I'm so thankful for technology!!
Today I have a "bring it on" mentality.
I know where my sailor is and I know when he's returning.
I can e-mail him whenever I want
and I will most likely get several phone calls between now and then.
I'm armed and ready.