There’s nothing more I loathe in this world than that large green duffel bag. The duffel bag that is standard military issued, that fits every piece of clothing inhabited by your husband- the bag that symbolizes so many goodbyes. To many, the bag symbolizes a change is about to come and turn your world upside down.
There’s nothing worse than a deployment, or a fear of deployment for a military spouse. But this is the fear that millions of American military spouses face every day. The anxiety, the stress, and the threat that lives in the back of a closet, or under the bed. It’s the threat that one day, some day, any day, that bag will come out of the crevasses of the house you’ve built together, and threaten to remove the one that you love.
Murphy’s law is the adage that anything that can go wrong will. I take this testament to heart, along with the millions of other military spouses around the world. Being a military spouse, I have come to accept that my husband could leave at any moment. I have overcome the fear, and replaced it with strength. Strength emotionally, but mostly, strength mentally. So, if I can offer any military spouse out there any form of advice, here it is:
Learn an androcentric skill: How to change a tire, how to replace a lightbulb in hard to reach places (my husband is 6’6”, so this is a big one in our household), and how to mow the lawn. Not only will these increase your knowledge and skill set, but it gives you more time to bond with your husband while he’s home. If you are a military husband, learn a feminine skill: Learn to help your daughter do her hair, learn what matches and what doesn’t in your kids clothes, and learn how to make lunches. Taking a larger leadership role as the father and mother is a true testament of character, and will help you in the long run.
Connect with your Family Readiness Group: The FRG is a fantastic way to bond with other military families going through the same situation in your area. Keep current with your FRG in regards to your deployed spouses updates, as they are the most updated source about your service member overseas.
Encourage Your Children: My husband and I do not have kids, but I have a lot of family and friends with deployed spouses that do. My cousin and her husband are a military family overseas, as he has been stationed in Germany. And one of the hardest obstacles for them, other than a language barrier, has been for their kids to understand why they are there. Explain to your kids what your spouse is fighting for, celebrate American pride in any way you can, and read them books about deployed military members, such as “B is for Brave: When daddy of mommy is deployed” or “I miss you!: A military kid’s guide to deployment.”
I take pride in knowing that my husband is serving our country, and every day our American pride grows. Our home runs on God, Country, Family, and it will forever run that way. Through our triumphs, children, and any deployments. And while I can’t say that I love that giant green duffel bag, I can say that by implementing the above advice into my life, has taken the pressure off of the hopeless nights of waiting and wondering if that bag will be used.