Service member preparing for deployment

The Short Deployment

My husband left three days ago. The kids finally stopped asking what time daddy will be home. I’ve grown accustomed to cooking for three again (and by that I obviously mean snacking and takeout). The flare-up of chaos and malfunction that always follows a deployment send-off has slowed to a maintainable severity.

We’re okay. We have our new normal and we’re ready for the long haul until our Marine comes home. And, a week and a half later, he does.

Just when we found our stride and were getting used to being “just the three of us” again, he’s back. His gear is literally everywhere. He’s craving actual home-cooked meals and the only thing in our pantry is a rainbow of cereal boxes. He’s adjusted the shower head to his height — it now sprays me directly in the face – and he hangs his towel haphazardly where my perfectly tri-folded towel usually hangs. I’m now forced to share the TV remote, unable to sell him on continuing my rom-com binge.

Adjusting to deployment and reintegration is easily my least favorite part of being a military spouse. Even glass-half-full military spouses can agree that the changes at the beginning and end of deployments are tough – once the adjustment period passes, it’s usually smooth sailing.

But, when your service member is tasked with frequent, but short spurts of separation, as opposed to the more traditional six-plus months of deployment, you’re in a constant state of adjustment (cue my crazy laugh).

  • My deployment pity-party is now a bimonthly routine – and all that comfort food is making my skinny jeans shrink. Weird.
  • Making plans and booking babysitters is tough because I have so many dates floating in my head — he’ll be home the 14th, but he leaves again on the 20th…or was it the 22nd?
  • Young kids may still be rusty on the concept of time. Guess how many times I’ve said, “Daddy will be home next Friday,” and that was the end of the discussion. Never! It’s always followed by, “Is that tomorrow?”
  • When my husband gets home, my kids and I typically bombard him with news and activities — maybe that’s just characteristic to living overseas. We can’t wait to drag him on the next adventure, but I’m learning to factor in a down day before we bug him full force.
  • My Marine is seeing tons of foreign places — a perk for him, but I have major travel envy. I don’t so much wish he was here with us, but wish we could go with him!

Luckily, there are perks, too.

  • We don’t have to miss him. Even the most independent military spouses have moments where emotion sneaks up on us. The beauty of short deployments? There’s not enough time to really miss each other.
  • The souvenirs are spectacular.
  • We maximize time when he’s home. We love to travel and be social, but we’re also homebodies with a solid appreciation for sweatpants. The pressure of knowing we only have one weekend while he’s home to go here or there is really motivating.

Do I complain about these short deployments? Obviously, yes. But, if you focus on quality over quantity, short deployments aren’t that bad. Adjusting to being in a constant state of change is the challenge in front of our family right now. It might not always feel like it to us while we’re in the thick of it, but I would have to say we’re all kind of rocking it in our own ways.

Kristi Stolzenberg
Written By Kristi Stolzenberg
Marine Spouse

Kristi started writing for Blog Brigade as a new Milspouse in 2008, and all of a sudden, she’s a seasoned (but not overly salty) Marine spouse.

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