Summer Fun: Party of One
Thinking back to the times my husband told me he would be deploying, I remember going through an array of emotions—as many of us do when we receive that ever-dreaded but always-expected news. I can remember experiencing all of these feelings in under five seconds. First, fear. Followed by panic. Then pride. Lastly, I remember thinking, “Well, if he’s going to deploy, I really hope he deploys during the summer!”
Sounds crazy, right? I feel crazy for thinking it. I have my reasoning. You see, deployment in the fall or winter would mean he would miss all the big holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, etc. As a person who gets overly excited about holidays (we’re talking decorating, party planning, sending cards, all the works), I just could not fathom having him gone for all those big ones.
On his first deployment, he missed every one of them, as well as a couple birthdays, our anniversary, and three or so weddings. I can tell you how I dealt with that, but we’ll save it for another season. On his second one, I guess you could say I got my wish. The longest stretch of his deployment would be over the summer.
For the record—I love spending the summer with my husband. I love barbecuing, I love road trips, I love hosting parties and going on vacations with our closest friends, I love the longer days. Our summers are always so full, and that’s why I love them. From June to August, there is rarely a weekend when we’re home without plans.
And that is why the busier I am and the more plans I have, the faster the deployment will go. Instead of sitting inside during the dead of winter or moping around wondering how to pass the time, my schedule is full. I have places to go, people to visit, fun to be had. Yes, it’s still difficult not having my husband with me. And I have had my share of cry-fests while worrying about him and feeling guilty about doing things without him, trust me. But when you look at the glass half full instead of half empty, it gets you through even the toughest phases of deployment.
I think that during deployments, many of us spouses turn into goal-driven creatures. We have a date in mind and an end in sight for when we will be reunited with our other half, and we start to plan so much around that. 137 days until he gets home, 2 more weeks until he gets my care package, 9 more hours until I get a phone call, 12 more pounds to lose for my homecoming outfit, 3 more months to get the house organized. Have you ever thought any of these things?
I have. Sometimes, the countdowns drive me mad. Other times, they’re all that get me through it. A fun way I found to avoid the countdown meltdown and to keep living life (and enjoying summer to its fullest) is to create a “Summer Bucket List.” Why a bucket list, you may ask?
Well, typically a bucket list is a list of things that you are going to do before you die… but in my scenario, it’s just a list of things to do before the end of summer! Creating a bucket list is one of the best ways to make sure that you use your time and resources as best you can in order to accomplish and experience what you really want out of life.
I find that creating a summer bucket list, especially when the spouse is deployed, is a great way to make goals and work toward reaching them without thinking about the numbers. Is there a place you want to travel to, or a project you want to complete? Add it to the bucket list. A new workout you want to try, or a recipe you’ve been meaning to make? Bucket list.
Save your sanity, fill up your schedule, and always look at the glass half full—that is how I got through previous deployments, and how I hope to get through those in the future! Good luck and enjoy your summers!