I knew it the second it happened. A switch was flipped and all of the sudden there we stood: we had now entered pre-deployment.
With this short little “port visit” home, I wondered how quickly a family could go through the stages of homecoming and pre-deployment. I honestly figured it was going to be an awful mess of anger and frustration from the get-go. I mean, both my husband and I (and even my kids) were not happy about this little visit. Not because we didn’t want the time, but we knew D-Day would roll around and greet us again.
The kids and I tried to prepare as best as we could for this time, and I could tell my husband did too. Our time together has been, well, normal. To some degree we were packing stuff in, but then some days were spent being lazy or doing menial tasks we had to do. It was perfect.
About a week and a half before he left, we were having a normal evening when I felt him pushing me away. I knew it had to show up sometime, but even expecting it, I was shocked.
It happened again the next morning. It wasn’t a big argument, but even still I knew the underlying cause. Knowing he was about to leave, I was oversensitive and I pushed away also. We both were now in preparation mode. He was readying for his mission at sea, and I was readying for my mission at home.
Later, as we talked, I pointed out to him that we had begun to prepare for deployment. Again. I don’t think we’ve ever called a spade a spade before. We just endured, knowing it was a part of the “process.”
But why? Does it HAVE to be a part of the process? Maybe in the beginning it does because you don’t realize you’re doing it. But as you continue to go through it over and over and over again, you see it so much more clearly. And maybe then, you can stop it.
It was this moment that also showed me it was time I pointed out to the kids that it was coming. We hadn’t talked about it since he had been home, but now that date was in site and I needed to let them know so they can prepare too.
Why had I never considered they might need to prepare in the same way that we do? I wonder if they will go through pre-deployment like adults.
Will they push us away? Maybe. But I’m hopeful that pointing it out and talking about it will make it easier and get us all ready to face it again.