When I married my husband, I didn’t know what I was getting into. Long work hours, frequent deployments and the Communication is not only long-distance, it is often less intimate and unreliable, especially with today’s technology, communication is not constant.
My last deployment was very challenging. We had 4 kids at that time and my little one was only 9 mo old when her dad deployed for almost 7 mo. We had no family near by… The only family I’d been my church family. My church at that time was my second home. My friends from church were more than friends to me, they were like family. They made me feel loved, they made my kids feel loved.
During this deployment it wasn’t easy dealing with my oldest. He knew his daddy was gone but it affected him the most. All the kids slept in my bed for a first few weeks. I was and still am working from home that kept me busy too. My husband even missed our anniversary and three of the kid’s birthdays. One thing that definitely helped my son with coping was him being able to talk to his dad alone. We would do small 5 minute sections when my husband would call or when we were able to Skype. I believe him having time alone with the kids it helped a lot. My daughter was only 9 months old when my husband left for deployment. My biggest fear was her not remembering and knowing her dad when he got back. But thankfully she didn’t even seem to notice he was gone.
Another way to help cope is to have a count down. We filled a jar for each child with Hershey kisses. Every day they would be allowed to eat one. It meant a kiss from daddy and they loved it. I also would try to do a fun day for them. I could not always do it every week like I intended, but we managed to at least once a month.
We also would hang out with a special family from church. They opened their doors and hearts to us. My kids got really close to them and to this date they are very important to us. Having a friend to vent to help a lot. Keeping in touch with family and cheering every moment, even when you can not see the light at the end of the tunnel, it helps so much. Loving your kids, family and friends helped me through that deployment.