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Treat Us 'Normal' During Deployment

I hesitated at the thought of writing this blog.  I don't want anyone to take it as their donation of time, items, and support are not wanted.  They are all extremely appreciated and needed.  With that said, as an Army Wife of 5 years, I've become desensitized to what our family life is like when viewed by civilians.

When my husband deployed in 2009, I dreaded going back home.  Hearing, "You are so Brave." or, "I could never do what you do?" or better yet, "Why isn't your husband calling more?", made me CRINGE.  I decided that during deployment I would stay in Fayetteville, NC.  Why?  I felt normal here.  I was one of  thousands of wives going through the same thing.  They NEVER said the stuff above.  They treated me NORMAL.

Everytime I spoke to someone, non military, they wanted to talk about deployment.  How was I doing? How was Phil doing?  What happened to everyday life and why does everyone only want to talk about deployment?  I'm not sure what sacrifices I'm was making.  I don't understand when people thanked me.  I'm not over there in a tent w/o internet and my McDonald's, my husband was.  Yes it sucked when something went wrong and I didn't have my husband there to help me, but I had what I called my deployment husband.  One of my deployment husbands was named, Marisol.  That's what you do.  You find people going through what you are going through and you support each other.  If I wanted to have what I called a "moment".   Marisol would listen.

When my husband deployed, one of the things that would make me cry was Walmart. Crazy right?  I remember a few days before he left we went grocery shopping at Walmart.  I said, "What if this is the last time we go to Walmart together?"  These and many other "moments" are what my deployment husband, Marisol, was for.  She understood.  She let me talk, never pitied me.  She let me have the "moment" and move on. No over analyzing required.

Back to the normal stuff I was talking about.  No matter how much my family and friends back home tried to support me, the majority of the time they put their foot in their mouth.  Now if they're reading this blog, they probably are wondering when they did it because I rarely let anyone know when they were doing it.  Truthfully, they couldn't understand how cruel they were being.  To have a conversation about it would just make it worse at the time.

So now, after my husband been home for 2 years, I get a wild hair to write about it.  Probably because I wanted to provide some advice to those who are not directly connected to Military Life.
  1. If I need something I will ask you. 
  2. It's ok to ask me about my husband and how he is doing, but NEVER ask me if me if I'm worried about his safety. 
  3. To add to number 2:  You can talk to me about other things other than deployment.  I mean prior to marrying my husband I bought my own house and car.  I was quite self sufficient. 
  4. Please do not thank me for my service.  I'm not serving, my husband is.
  5. Do not feel sorry for me.  I chose this life because of the man and country that I love.  
  6. It's ok for me to be sad about missing my husband.
  7. To add to number 6:  If I want to talk about being sad I will, but the best thing to do is invite me out to do something.  Get my mind off it.  I don't need a wallowing partner.
  8. Don't quote crap that you hear on the news about Afghanistan.  I don't need to know if a service member died today, or that a helicopter crashed. 
  9. If you are civilian and you want to help and you don't know what to do... especially for the National Guard and Army Reserve spouses... How about cleaning their house, mowing their lawn, babysitting or inviting them to cookout.   I particularly send you their way because they don't have access to the types of services and support I do living near a military base.
At the end of this hodge podge blog... There are many people in this world that have as many challenges and sacrifices as us.  Treat us normal because our lives are not the civilian norm.  Maybe that's why I crave the 'Normal' treatment.  It's not because I'm desensitized, it's because  being, "normal", is the best vacation you can ever give an Army Wife.

I know some Army Wives out there may want/need something different to help you through deployment.  I definately do not believe I speak for all Army Wives.  Although we share much in common, our experiences can still be very unique. Please share in our comments your pet peeves or what you'd need.   

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