Military Mama: What doesn’t kill us

Full Moon HDR
By Jade Stone

Someone once said, “What doesn’t kill us, only makes us stronger”.

Sometimes, I’d like to just smack that guy in the mouth.

I’m guessing that someone has never dealt with daylight savings in the spring while single-handedly managing to wrestle a 6-year-old out of a cozy warm bed at 5:30 in the morning to get him ready and off to school before going to teach a class myself that starts at 7 am while the moon is still out, come home to clean the house, do laundry, fix dinner, run errands, go to a parent teacher conference and make it to a 6 pm soccer practice, only to come home, get the kiddo cleaned up and in bed just in time for me to complete the rest of the things I didn’t manage to finish earlier in the day.

And I wonder why I can’t seem to keep my eyes open tonight. This was today, which begins the 5th week of pre-deployment training. I have officially contracted a case of the “Pre-deployment Blues”.  Jay will get to come home for a few weeks before having to go back to Kansas for more training and to be perfectly honest, the timing couldn’t be better because I need a break!

I know there are probably single parent families and families with spouses that travel that do this all the time but I can’t help but feel this might be slightly different. For starters, we never know when this lifestyle will kick in. We may go years without living like this then one day orders drop from above and all of a sudden my life is thrown into a tail spin  leaving me scrambling to keep up, all while maintaining that exterior smile that everyone has come to expect.

I’m not the kind of person that handles being behind in anything very well. I tend to be relatively well organized with good time management skills but deployments really put those attributes to the test.  I have never realized until today how intricately I have to plan things out in advance just to make sure I don’t miss anything and everyone gets where they need to be on time, myself included.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t envy the hubby’s schedule a bit right now: Get up, go to work/training, eat lunch, train, return to a quietsolitary hotel room, eat a quiet meal, take a long quiet shower, and then slip quietly off to sleep all to do it again the next day.

No demands, no laundry, no cooking, no cleaning, no bills, no anything.  I know it’s selfish but I’m human and today that’s just how I feel.

I understand the importance of what he’s doing but sometimes that small inhuman side of me peeks out and tends to notice the detailed differences. I know I shouldn’t feel that way but sometimes, I just do. Unfortunately, as soon as I realize that I am jealous of his schedule, I am immediately reminded that while my schedule and way of life will experience no further change, the same is not true of him.

He will experience tons of change as a result of the deployment. Certainly, many of those changes will be involuntary and most likely unwanted. He definitely gets the short end of that stick, no matter how bad my day was.

At any rate, other than my current pity party status, Things are going well. Though I have new concerns about his current destination in the Middle East.

I’m afraid that the poor soldier that snapped and went on a killing spree in Afghanistan will have profound negative effects on our soldiers over there. The sentiment towards Americans is poor anyway and this made it worse. This can only heighten the already dangerous environment and cause more problems for our soldiers.

I feel bad for the soldier. Yes, I’ve hear the stories and know some of the victims were children. However, if one digs a bit deeper, one might realize that the soldier was on his 4th deployment. I don’t know what you know about deployment but unless you have a desk job, most people do not make it home in one psychological peace. PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) plays a huge role in how we behave and why we do what we do.

One tour of any war is enough to scar someone for life but 4 tours??? That’s insane. If you ask me, the military should have seen this coming. There is no doubt in my mind that had significant signs and symptoms of PTSD were either ignored or downplayed by the VA in an effort to evade providing disability. So instead we create a ticking time bomb that is willing to explode any time.

Jay suffered mildly because his experiences weren’t as bad as they could’ve been but we got lucky. With the escalation of emotions and rising anger of the natives, I look for him to come home a different person.

I think that is the hardest part of any deployment. Knowing that no matter what, in a year’s time, both of us will change because we will have new experiences in our lives that will mold us into our future selves. It will be impossible not to change to some extent.

My only hope is that we manage to change parallel to one another and not in opposite directions.

I would imagine as this deployment looms ahead, we will hear more about Jess (my little one) and how he is handling daddy being gone. But for now, get out and enjoy the beautiful spring weather and don’t forget to wear green Saturday! Happy St. Patrick’s day!

Jade welcomes your comments here as well as any suggestions you may have for her future posts. You may also e-mail her at To read previous Military Mama posts, CLICK HERE.

*Photo by qwincowper via flickr