While collecting deployment stories I realized quickly something was missing. Military spouses play an important role of holding down the fort while their service member is deployed overseas. So I started collecting deployment stories. I have loved hearing the stories of military spouses. Kicking the Spouse Spotlight is Christine from Her Money Moves, sharing A Tale of Two Deployments.
A Fairy-tale Love Story
Ten years ago, my co-worker told me I just had to meet her boyfriend’s buddy. We would be perfect for each other. I was fresh out of college, living the single life in Seattle, and working at my dream job. My supposed perfect match was a newly minted Army captain living 2,000 miles away from me in Lawton, OK. I politely told my friend, hard pass, not interested.
By the time she convinced me to give her friend a chance, he was already on a 15 month deployment to Iraq. I told her I would still like to send him a care package. A care package with homemade brownies and a letter led to an e-mail which led to daily e-mails, and then phone calls. We had a sudden connection and we decided to meet during his R&R in October 2007. Ten days quickly passed and I promised to wait for him until he returned from deployment in nine more months.
Young and In Love
During the time my new boyfriend was deployed, I lived in a house with my college best friends. My life consisted of hanging out with my girlfriends, taking care of my newly adopted dog, working out, and acting like a college kid on the weekends. I poured all my free time into talking to my soldier and making care packages for him. This was before everyone used Skype, so my roommates helped me do photoshoots and make videos to e-mail and snail mail to him in Iraq. My roommates also got in the spirit and made care packages for his roommates too.
Our love was fresh and new and I excitedly got into bed every night to await his call from someplace in the world eight hours ahead of me. Every month, he would surprise me by sending a bouquet of flowers to my office. We were young and in love and our biggest problems centered on me missing a phone call from him, making him worry that I found a new guy who was not half a world away from me.
Fast forward almost ten years later and my boyfriend turned fiancé turned husband was up for orders to Afghanistan. However, this time, our lives and relationship were much different. This time he wasn’t my boyfriend, he was my husband, and we were raising a baby.
Our first deployment together was almost romantic. I hate to refer to it that way, but as a 23 year old, my time was spent equally between working, having fun with my friends and pining over my deployed boyfriend. However, in our second deployment, I was still working full time, but now I was also driving to and from daycare like a crazy person to pick-up my son by closing time, scrambling to make dinner for myself and my toddler, taking care of two dogs, working some more when everyone went to sleep for the night and then falling exhausted into bed. Did I mention we were also in the middle of a cross-country PCS?
During this last deployment, I didn’t have time to write epic love notes like I had done 10 years prior. Ten year later we had access to videochat but the connection was always so bad we resorted to just using the phone. Now, I only had time to give an exhausted update of my day and attach a quick video of his quickly growing son saying “I love you Dada”. I left out the part where our son called any man in uniform he saw, “Dada”.
Love is Love
We had been through a deployment before, a longer one in fact. This shouldn’t be this hard. This was military life. I thought of us as a seasoned military family. This wasn’t our first rodeo, we weren’t newbies, and plus, I told myself, I was too busy to be upset. So instead of talking about how we were feeling, the night before he deployed, we fought over an iPad that was shipped to the wrong address. On the day he left for Afghanistan, I drove to work and my manager asked me how I was doing. I broke down into hysterical sobbing.
Love is love. I don’t think I loved my husband any more or less ten years later, but it was a different kind of love. It’s hard to say how you really feel when your best friend, your love, the father of your baby takes off into a combat zone. When we said goodbye during our first deployment it was just to each other. Now our love had doubled and he had to say good bye to our son as well
My husband’s second deployment won’t be his last, I know there will be more. Just like everything else, our relationship will evolve, our seasons of life will change. Who knows what will be going on in my life during his next deployment? I do know that just because I’m older, more established, or busier than I was ten years ago, it didn’t make the pain or stress of a deployment any less, it just made it different.
Christine Maxwell is a personal finance junkie with a BS in Finance and MS in Aeronautical Science. She works as a Budget Manager in Higher Education and is the founder of Her Money Moves, a blog about personal finances, career, and military culture for military spouses and their families”
Christine is @hermoneymoves on all social media, but below are all the links.
This is Day 6 of 31 Days of Deployment Stories. If you want to start at the beginning click here. Yesterday I talked about being at Manas Transit Center, Kyrgyzstan. Tomorrow I will share a civilian’s perspective in Afghanistan. Don’t miss a post! Sign up for my weekly email list here.