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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Reality Check

I guess I've been living in a little bubble of ignorant bliss.

When Joe deployed last year I said, "well at least it's only 4 months, we can get through that. And, "at least it's not for a year."

I was thankful Joe wasn't in the Army, because they routinely deploy for 12-15 months, so I just kept telling myself "at least it's not for a year."

Joe told me, "there are some Air Force deployments that are for a year now, John just got a 365" (John being his former immediate supervisor who deployed for a year last year.)

Then a mom I know from base and MOPS found out her husband was deploying last year...he had 3 months of training followed by a 1-year deployment with the Army. I felt so bad for her and their 4 girls, especially because her husband returned from a deployment the year before, but he works in Ammo so once again I thought, at least Joe's not going for a year.

A couple months ago Joe told me that his rotation would be coming up again most likely in May '09 for another deployment and it was most likely going to be for 6 months. Ok, 2 more months then last time, I guess I can deal with that. Because, all together now, at least it's not a year! I was also hoping he would get orders and that would delay another deployment for awhile.

You see where this is going don't you? We're in OK on vacation and on Mon Joe received a call from someone at work that his name just showed up on a deployment list. So Joe gets online to check his work email. Sure enough, there was a notification.

It said, "congratulations! You are the most elegible non-volunteer selected for a 365-day all expenses paid vacation/relocation to Afghanistan!" Ok it didn't say "congratulations" and it didn't say "all expenses paid vacation" but the rest? The one-year deployment has now become my reality. Oh yeah, he'll need to go to NJ for a month of training before heading on the year-long deployment, and report in country by mid-Feb - before Lucas's first birthday.

Pop went my bubble of non-one-year deployment bliss. It really blindsided us, something we were not expecting. I'm still digesting this...digesting that come Jan my husband will be gone for 13 months.

I know families go through this all the time, (hi Renee!) I know this is the state of the military now, but it doesn't make it any easier, it doesn't mean I'm not going to miss my husband. And it surely doesn't mean I have to like it. I know none of the military spouses like it - a whole year (or more) out of our lives that we can't get back; a whole year of parents being apart from their kids and missing out on so much.

Lucas will still be a baby when he leaves and a toddler when he returns. I'm already wondering if Lucas will know/realize who Joe is when he gets back. I wonder how Kayla is going to deal with the deployment this time, being so much longer.

We'll get through it and deal with it, because really, what else can you do?

Definitely not a phone call you want to get while you're on vacation though.

post signature

84 comments:

~Melissa~ said...

Michelle, my heart just breaks for you and all of the other families that have this as a reality. I'm grateful for all that Joe does, but it sure stinks that you all have to be separated for such long time.

You are in my thoughts!

Tricia said...

Oh Michelle. I am so sorry. You and your family are so brave and I am so thankful for what Joe does as well. I don't know if it's possible that I can help at all from such a distance, but if it means you'll be visiting your mom in this direction at all, I sure hope we can get together.

Mommy Bee said...

Michelle,
I am so sorry to hear this news. I will be thinking of you all.

Corey~living and loving said...

oh dear....that certianly isn't news anyone wants to get. sigh...my heart is sad for you and your family.

Melody and Doug said...

Oh, I am so sad to read this. I am so sorry that this is happening.

Mom/Mil/GM said...

Michelle, you know I feel your pain. This was not a phone call a mom wanted to have at her home while her son and his wonderful family were here visiting for her birthday.

We all will endure this year and come out of it stronger in the end.

There is one bright side for you, at the end of this you guys should get orders out of NM.

Omaha Mama said...

Aw Michelle. My eyes are all teary, my lips in a pout. I cannot believe it. I was naive enough to think that he wouldn't deploy for a long time, maybe ever, after the 4-month one. I'm so so sorry and want to figure out a way to support you in that year. I just can't believe it. I have a friend here who's living without her hubby for a year. They have two little ones. It's tough, I just can't begin to imagine.
Hugs from Omaha!

Nisa said...

I'm so sorry, Meesh. I knew he'd most likely be deployed again, but I was thinking of the four month thing too...
I guess I will talk to you soon...
love you.
Nisa

Every minute counts.... said...

My heart breaks for you. Your life could have been mine, Chris was to join the Army but ended up not...I could have been missing my husband for a year too.... I am so sorry that it was news you got on vacation too! Yuck!!
Here's to bubbles that always seem to POP when you least expect it!

Noel

Mom24 said...

I am so sorry. That's so inadequate. Thank you for your sacrifice. ALL of your sacrifices. I know it doesn't help very much (if at all), but we'll be here for you to listen, to support. I am just so sorry.

starrlife said...

So sorry to hear this, how incredibly hard it must be to hear. Hugs.

Mindy said...

I will forever be amazed at the strength and commitment that goes along with every military family. You and your family are in my prayers and I will keep a special prayer out there for Joe while he is away. I hope that things around base are busy, Lucas and Kayla keep you extra busy (in a good way!), and time flies by when it can until the day Joe comes home~

Beth said...

I am so sorry that you and your precious babies will have to go through this but so grateful for Joe and the rest of the military who are out there protecting my child. You and Joe will be in my prayers.

RK said...

Wow... I can't imagine how I'd handle this. I have such an admiration for all the military families that make such sacrifices for our country. It's no small thing, and I'm sorry this has come now. It doesn't help it not happen, but know that we don't take it for granted!

Michelle said...

Oh Michelle. My heart aches for you - all of your family. And yes, there are other families who go through this, but it's not easy or fair for them, either.

Tell Joe thanks for us, okay?

Karly said...

Hugs to you all. I can't even imagine the sacrifice you all make, on behalf of the rest of the country.

Kerry said...

Suck Sucky suck. Sorry to be so graphic but is there any other word??? Thinking of you guys over here~

Dana a/k/a Sunshine said...

Oh Michelle...you poor thing. My heart really does break for you guys. I know that will be difficult. I know too, that you WILL get through it...but just having to go through it - it just hurts.

Your blogging family will be here for you...I wish there was sometihng more I could say to make you feel better. (((hug)))

andria said...

That just sucks.

Wish I could help you out, I hate my husband being gone a week, can't imagine a whole year.

Julie said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. It really makes me realize what these guys are giving up for our country. I hope the time flies by fast.

Nancy M. said...

I am so sorry! I don't know how all the military families do it. I really appreciate all he does for our country. I will pray for your family.

Anonymous said...

it is a difficult time for all military and their families..again, like everyone else has said, " THANK-YOU" But, what an unexpected phone call...Michelle, I love you and Joe and Kayla and Lucas... my heart breaks for all of you.. and Barbara..too.. It is not easy....hugs to all.. always, Mom/grandma

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

Ahhh Michelle, I'm so sorry! I didn't realize AF was doing 365s! UGH! Lucas probably WON'T remember him... but if it's any consolation, Keeghan warmed up quickly... as long as that crazy guy wasn't touching HIS mommy! :) We'll be praying hard that Joe stays safe and that Kayla will cope as well as possible. I know it's so hard to explain to the kids. Hang in there. If you ever need to talk or anything, I'm here!

Shannon @ Gabi's World said...

Oh nooooo! That has got to suck! I am sorry, I don't mean to make you fell worse. I hope it goes by super quick for all of you!

Susie Q said...

Sweet Michelle...my heart is broken for you. Yes, many of us have had to survive such deplyments but that does not make it any easier or your pain any less real. I am so, so sorry.
For what it is worth, we will keep you all in our prayers and hearts.
As a retired military wife, I offer my thanks to you, the younger ones, who must now face this new war.
Bless you sweet lady...love to you all.
Sue

Tina said...

Oh crud :( That just stinks and I'm so, so sorry!

((((HUGS))))

Chris said...

Michelle, I am so sorry. What horrible news to get--especially on vacation.

My husband has been away on business this week, and I miss him so, I don't know how you military families do it. You are all so brave! Brave men married to brave women who are raising strong brave kids! Thank you for your sacrifice; for all you do to keep our nation safe.

Something tells me though that your kids will be just fine. Joe's love for them will flow through you. You'll make sure you keep Joe there with you in spirit.

Praying for peace in this world.

Christina said...

I am sorry that he'll be gone that long. I don't know how you ladies do it!

Karen said...

Aaah, it's just zoomed in and become a reality as you say. Enjoy each glorious day, and Christmas and all. Lot to think about, but will uphold you in prayer that's for sure. (Karen, of the Ramblings)

A Mama's Blog (Heather) said...

Michelle,

I am so sorry Joe has to be gone for a year. That is really, really, hard. I think it is amazing all the sacrifices military families make for our country. I'll be thinking of you and sending you lots of positive energy.

Michelle said...

Oh fudge. That really sucks, Michelle (for you and for all the families!)! I'm so sorry!
(((HUGS)))

much more than a mom said...

Aw Michelle, I'm so sorry to hear that. We'll be here for you through it all!

PastorMac's Ann said...

Oh Michelle, I'm so sorry. I can't even imagine how hard that must be!

My heartfelt gratitude goes out to Joe and to you and your family too for this kind of sacrifice that you're making to keep us safe. Too all our soldiers and their families!

Lifting you up in prayer...

Christina said...

NO!!!!
That sucks. I am so sorry... Can'T he be deployed to Austria instead and you could take the kiddoes and come hang here?

jessica said...

Oh Michelle, that really stinks. I just want to fly out there and give you a big hug! Call me if you ever want to chat! HUGS!

Jen said...

Hugs going to you girl....been there and done it...it is tough....I'm praying for your strength.

Me said...

Michelle, I'm so sorry you have to deal with such a long deployment now. i just can't imagine having to go through that. But, you are strong, and you can do it, and time will pass and before you know it Joe will be back home. Probably won't feel that way though.

Big hugs to you!

jewels said...

Michelle, I have tears in my eyes. I am so sorry Joe will have to be gone for so long! And please tell him I say "thank you" for his sacrifice..... and thank YOU for your sacrifice as well. TDYs can be a difficult thing because, as you said, they miss out on so much of our lives here at home.

My hubby used to be in the Air Force years ago but we didn't have kids back then. But he travels a lot more now that he works for the DoD. He just came home in June after being gone for 5 months. When he left, our baby was about 6 weeks old. It was a hard five months to get through for various reasons, but we made it! Now he is trying to go to Afghanistan either this winter or next spring/summer. I am hoping that is only a 6 mo. TDY....

Know that you all are in my thoughts and prayers! I pray the time will pass quickly for you and that you will have an abundance of good days! And of course that Joe will remain safe!

LauraJ said...

I'm so sad for you! Big big hugs to you Joe and the kids!! I'm sure there are creative ways to get through that 1 year. Lucas won't forget his daddy and Kayla will be your best helper ever!

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I am a lurker and am smack dab in the middle of this situation. My AF hubby is 6 mos into his 365. One good note to share is that the AF footed the "all expenses paid" relocation of my 2 kiddos and me to FL to be near my parents. This is not a widely known option so I wanted to share.
I'll be thinkin' about you. This totally stinks!
Lacey

Tarrah said...

I'll be praying for you! I'm so sorry you have to go through this, I really couldn't emagine.

Finding Normal said...

Oh man! I don't know how you guys do it! My hubby travels a lot for work, but he's at least home on the weekend. I hope you have a good support system in place to help you out!

Julie said...

Michelle, I am so sorry! I have tears in my eyes as I type this. I wish I could just give you a big hug! And I wish I could help or encourage you in some way. I will be thinking of you and praying for all of you. God bless you and a big thanks to your hubby for what he does for us all.
Julie

Heather said...

Oh my goodness, Michelle. I'm heartbroken for you. I, too, hang on to the "at least it's not a year" thing a little too tightly. I'm so sorry. You have every right to pitch a fit. Hugs girl.

Cate said...

That's really hard news. I know you guys will get through it, but I'm sorry you have to. My thanks to Joe, too. And to you, and the kids -- it's a huge sacrifice for all of you.

I'll be thinking of you. I wish I could do something to help.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry. I can't imagine having to look to have your husband away for so long. I did have a thought though. It would take a lot of work, but maybe a few nights a week you could record your husband reading a few books to the kids. My thought is that you could have him read 60 different books (I know, seems a lot but go with me here) and each week the kids would have a new book to listen to from Daddy. This way Lucas would see him all the time, Kayla would get a little bit of a daddy fix and Joe would still feel a little involved.

Maybe you could record ahead in anticipation of events. Joe on the video praising the kids for something or another.

Just ideas. I'm sorry.

--Bailey's Leaf

The Girls' Mommy said...

Michelle, I just can't imagine, I just can't. I have a wonderful friend out here who just went through the same thing, and you have kids similar ages. I hope you don't mind but I sent her your blog link. Maybe she'll have helpful thoughts. Also-I'm here near Tricia, and I agree that we'd love to get together/help if you come out this way to see your mom. We're thinking of you!

Robin said...

Michelle, I am SO sorry that you and so many families have to go through this. If it is any help at all, and I know it's not nearly enough, you have the unending gratitude of me and so many Americans for all your family does to keep us safe. I don't regard your sacrifice lightly.
I will put you, Joe, and your sweet kids on the top of my prayer list and will pray for you every time God brings you to my mind.

ChupieandJ'smama said...

Michelle,
I am so sorry!! What a shock to have happen and especially on vacation. A whole year is just so long. I'm starting my prayers for you all now.
Please give Joe our thanks for all he does for our country. I know that there are hundreds of thousands men and women that are keeping us safe every day, but until you can put a face to it, it all seems so "distant". We do appreciate all he does and all your family has to sacrifice.
HUGS to you and much love and good thoughts coming your way!!

chelle said...

HUGS! HUGS HUGS!!!!

erin sheely said...

Wow. That is no fun. Nope, no fun. I am friends with Julia from Adventures in Pink. My husband is in the Army and did a 14 month Iraq tour (after two short tours). My oldest girl was 2 and my baby was 3 weeks old when he left. Deployments are hard and year deployments are harder but looking at it from the other end (he got home in November of last year) YOU CAN DO IT!! It looks like you already have a fantastic support group and that is awesome. If you ever want to talk about deployment stuff I would love to chat with you. I loved having people to vent to that knew what I was going through cause I sure hated the Army while he was gone. Anyway, good luck. And seriously, my email is erintolmanATyahooDOTcom if you ever want to talk. Good luck!

Beth said...

You guys are in our thoughts! My brother-in-law is Air Force and he just deployed on Monday...not sure how long!

Michelle said...

I'm so sorry. I know, from experience, that it sucks in a big time fashion. I will be keeping you all in my prayers!

Sunny said...

I am so sorry to hear the news. I can't begin to imagine what it must be like to have your husband gone for so long - especially with your kids being so little. You are in my thoughts. As my mom has always told me - "this to shall pass". I am grateful for wonderful servicemen like your husband, and for wonderful wives, like yourself, that support them.

Renee said...

Oh Michelle, my heart just aches for you all. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

annie said...

That's tough Michelle.

Anonymous said...

My children's Dad was deployed in June 2007 and won't be back until March 2009.

I was very concerned about the same things you were. I was concerned my youngest who was only 2 would forget him, or not be bonded to him.

We got books about deployment (check amazon), we made calendar at snapfish.com of the kids with Daddy. We made pillows at cafepress.com with pictures of them with Dad on it. We went to build a bear and got a dog with Daddy's voice in it.

They get gifts from Dad for every holiday. They talk to him as much as possible.

Dad gets pictures of them regularly, copies of handwriting, coloring, etc. Handprints. There are SO many ways to keep that bond strong.

Also, the Sesame Street deployment video has been very helpful to my kids. It's free to military families.

I'm sorry and good luck.

Sandra said...

Michelle, I'm SO SO sorry, I wish I could give you a hug right now. It's one of those military realities that none of us wives want to deal with.

I know you'll be fine and you'll make it through, but it doesn't make it any easier and one year is a LONG time. I know exactly which deployment you're talking about and Curt's name is circling the lists, we haven't heard anything but who knows?

Hang in there

Huge hugs,
Sandra

StephthefutrRxDr said...

I'm really sorry!! Wish I could say more..

Shelley said...

Oh Michelle, I'm so sorry. I had no idea that the AF was now doing 365 day rotations. I'm not going to lie to you....a year is hard. But, you do have enough notice to make lots of memories and to make preparations for the time apart. There are some excellent resources avaliable through Military Onesource for both you and the kids and there are so many ideas for things to do to help the children better comprehend the long length of time.
We will be thinking about you and your family in the coming months. I know how it feels to live with that year looming over you like a big thunderstorm cloud just waiting to rain.
Feel free to get in touch if there's anything I can do or if you just want someone else to talk to. (((HUGS))) to you as your family comes to terms with the news.

camille said...

Oh Michelle. I really don't know what to say. I'm so sorry he'll be going again. I can't imagine being a single parent for so long. I will be thinking of and praying for you as this deployment gets closer.

Karen said...

Oh, Michelle! I'm so sorry. Thank goodness Joe was there when Lucas was tiny to help out, but it'll be so hard to have the little boy grow up while Joe is gone. And Kayla! It was so hard on her the first time.

I'm here if you need anything. We'll be praying for his safety and your strength.

Nicole said...

Michelle, I am so sorry I know it won't be an easy year. But the good news is time flies when you have kids. :) HUGS and I'll be praying you thru the year!

Lilith Silvermane said...

*hugs*
He will be missed... Enjoy the time, and believe that we will come home to you and those precious babies.

Overwhelmed! said...

Oh Michelle, I can't believe it! Well, I guess I can because I work with Air Force guys and some of them are being shipped off for a year as well. ((sigh)) I'm so sorry you'll all be apart for so long.

Please, don't hesitate to call me if you ever need to talk, vent or just have an adult conversation. And lets hope that I get sent to Alamogordo on TDY next year so I can visit you in person!

Hang in there! Your family will be in my prayers.

Me said...

Oh wow - I can't even imagine how it feels! I'm sorry to hear... :(

Trace

Terri said...

Bless your hearts! Hang in there and you'll get through it. Prayers being said for you all!

Overwhelmed! said...

By the way, if Joe doesn't mind, I think you should post his mailing address on your blog when he's finally there so that we can inundate him with fun mail! :)

Heather said...

Michelle, I am crying right now for you and for your kids. I KNOW what you are going through. I will be praying that during the time until he leaves you will be blessed. That the Lord would make this time together so special and not pre-deployment stressful.

Tammy said...

Michelle...oh, sweetie, I'm nearly in tears.
As you might remember, during our early years of marriage, my husband was in the Navy and gone more often than he was home. It was SO hard as newlyweds...but we didn't have children yet, and I can just imagine the different kind of hardship this is for families.
My heart goes out to you and all the other families enduring this...
and I will be in prayer for your family, too, Michelle!
Big Hugs,
~Tammy

ALF said...

So sorry to hear that he'll have to be gone that long. I know it's what you sign up for with a military career but it still can't be easy.

Kathleen Marie said...

Oh wow... My prayers are so very much with you. I remember growing up an AF brat and all the Dads that had gone to Viet Nam and Korea... It was rough but like you said, you will get through it with God's blessing and you have every right not to like it, at all.

So, my prayers continue to be with you and your family and I thank the Lord for men like Joe who are proud to serve this awesome country! Hugs!

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Dear Michelle,

I just want to thank you and your family for what you do for all of us. You are in my heart all the time. I will continue to keep you all in my prayers too. I am by your side in love and spirit.

Love, Cheri

Melissa said...

Michelle,
You and your sweet family are in my prayers. You will be just fine. kisses, Melissa

CrackerJacks said...

I am actually in tears! I cannot even begin to imagine how hard that will be, how hard it will be for the kids. I'm all the way over here, but if you need anything, let me know.

Hope Kayla and Lucas are doing well and enjoying their vacation(S).

PEA said...

Oh dear, that certainly was not a phone call you wanted to get while on vacation!! I remember how much you and Kayla missed him when he was away for 4 months...but 13 months is a long time to be separated:-( I think that's why we can never thank our troops enough for all the sacrifices they do to make sure we're safe. My heart goes out to all of you, it won't be easy but just remember, we'll all be here to help you get through it!! xoxo

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry . I know this is the last thing you wanted to hear while on your vacation.I hope Kayla has a better time of it this time. I know it was hard for her that her daddy was gone the last time. My prayers are with you all.
love ya,
mii

amy flege said...

awww man, that just plain sucks!!! I know you though, you are strong, your family is strong and you will all do fine! hang in there michelle!

Type (little) a said...

I don't know what to say. I'm sorry you have to be without him for so long. I'm sorry that Kayla and Lucas have to be without their Daddy. And I'm sorry he'll be without you all.

My uncle did a year in Iraq back in 2005-6, and it's looking good that he's getting another tour in Afghanistan.

I;ll be thinking of you all. Hugs.

Jeanette said...

Wow. What a call to get. You are in my prayers. I was a child of the Navy and my father was gone quite a bit over the years. It's tough, but your kids will be okay. I can't imagine being on the spouse side of a deployment. Take care my friend! It looks like there are a lot of people praying for you all!

Nancy said...

My heart goes out to you dear one. I have no idea what you must be going through. Jimmy travels full-time (out Mon and back Thurs evening) and has done this for 10 years, but he's never gone to the other side of the world for over a year.

I will keep you and your precious family in my prayers May our Lord be your husband in a powerful way during this time. I know I've drawn so close to Him during these past 10 years home alone.

Blessings,
Nancy

Tammy and Parker said...

One year deployments.....whoa. May I tell you though how grateful we are for not only Joe's service, but your sacrifice as well?

And though it isn't much, we'll all be here to keep you company and be shoulders to cry on if you need them

We absolutely love you guys!

Bonita said...

Michelle, I'm so sorry. This stinks big time. I know it's no consolation, but I thank Joe and your family for being willing to make these sacrifices for all of us, and all of you truly are sacrificing for all of the rest of us.

I pray that God shows up in special ways for each of you during the time of deployment and that things will cool down militarily so maybe he won't be needed for the whole year.

This whole thing elevates you even higher in my mind and, trust me, you were already ranking up there. You're a very strong woman and I so admire how you always encourage others even in the midst of your struggles. I hope that during his deployment the bloggy world will be a lifeline of support for you.

Amy said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your news. I dread the day that we get that same phone call.

Stay strong and you will be in my prayers!