When I first met Chad, my handsome, American sailor, I had absolutely no concept of military life, other than hearing the ARMY wives bitch and moan about how Johnno and Stevo just wanted to drink all day, after returning from a week-long exercise!
In fact, even though I had watched countless US ships come and go, filled with sailors, enjoying the Townsville lifestyle, it never occurred to me that, somewhere back home, families were missing them like crazy, and counting down the eight months until they returned.
I had never experienced missing someone like that, nor had I ever loved someone so much that it hurt to be away from them, so how could I be expected to really care about what I didn't understand?
But, it wasn't until Chad deployed three months after Michael was born, that I finally realized how emotionally challenging and potentially destructive, these deployments can be on a marriage and a family.
I consider myself a pretty tough, 'no worries' woman, and, it really does take a lot to make me cry, but I tell you what, once Chad left, obviously those postpartum aliens took over my body, because I cried for weeks.
My hair fell out in clumps, my skin looked pale, I gained weight, and, I had constant chest pains, so that, I honestly thought I was going to have a heart attack every single day.
Although I had my mUm and my best friend stay with me for a few weeks, it wasn't until Michael and I went to Australia for the remaining six months of his deployment that, I began to feel like me again. I had my family and friends around me, and I was no longer sitting out the American Winter, in a empty house, waiting for Chad to return.
I still counted the days, but, they didn't seem so far away anymore.
Deployments SUCK, there really is no other way to say it!
Nine months away from Michael, away from each other, living different lives, and then all of a sudden being thrown back together and expected to instantly mesh! We both agreed that post deployment was far more challenging emotionally, simply because, we had both become individuals, me a single mUm, him a single sailor, and we had forgotten how to be together.
Chad had to learn to be a dAd again, and that was probably the most heartbreaking thing to watch. Michael slowly and cautiously bonded with him, as though he were some stranger who had just come into our lives, and in essence, he was!
That was just over a year ago.
Today, I prepare for potentially another deployment, this time, he won't be sailing to such friendly seas, but, as I've come to realize, it's NAVY life first, NAVY wife second!
It doesn't make me 'that' angry anymore when he's given just a few days notice (I put away most of my voodoo pins), nor does it make me love him any less, because someone has to do it, actually, thousands of someones have to do it, to keep America free!