I’m going to stick with my original thought: Deployment sucks. But when I’m having one of those days when I just want to feel sorry for myself, I am reminded that I just need a little perspective.
Earlier this month, I drove down to South Carolina for my brother in law’s wedding. We knew that Dave was going to miss the wedding since the day we were invited (I’m still convinced it was revenge for our getting married while he was in boot camp) and I had been preparing to attend without him for months. My children both backed out of going with me, so I was there solo to represent my little Doyle clan. Everything was going well at the rehearsal dinner until Chris (the middle brother) walked in and hugged Gary. I instantly felt a lump in my throat and my eyes tearing up. There would be no drinking until 4 am and last minute decisions to go sky diving for this brother. Dave was missing this one and yeah, deployment sucks.
The following weekend was Mother’s Day, and I spent it with some other wives from the squadron like I usually do. We are quite the eclectic group: some with kids, some without and two that are expecting their first babies later this year. While they were talking about genetic testing, their doctor and where they were delivering, I felt that lump in my throat and stinging in my eyes again. More than likely, those Daddies are going to miss their little one’s entrance into the world. So, yeah, the birth of your first child trumps your brother getting married. Those guys are winning the game. Their deployment sucks worse than mine.
I got this text from my son earlier today:
I said a silent little prayer and asked him if he caught it. I did not get the answer I wanted. My next thought was: well, do we burn it down or just move? The obvious answer is that we are going to have to burn down the house and start from scratch to make sure that little b****** doesn’t try to move with us. Yeah, a giant lizard in my house equals deployment sucks in my book.
About half an hour later, I stopped by a friend’s house to deliver an order and she looked a little frantic. Turns out, her dogs had gotten out. Once they (that’s right, I didn’t help, don’t judge me) got the dogs back home, we retreated inside and began to chat. As we watched the kids playing, well maybe not playing so much as tormenting each other, I began to tell her this horrific lizard story and show her the picture. She looked a little confused and I was like “What? There’s a lizard in my house. Isn’t that awful?” She took a sip of wine, looked me square in the face and said “Tonyia, I was walking around in S*** up to my ankles last week. Not figurative s***. Literal s*** from the toilet that flooded my house. So no, your lizard isn’t awful.” Guess what? Today, Janine wins the game. Her deployment sucks worse than mine.
This deployment has been rough for both Dave and I and nothing really codifies that like sending birthday wishes to the ship. We have both struggled to find our footing and to get into a routine the last couple months. I was really feeling a little sorry for myself this morning when I got a phone call from a friend. I assumed she was calling to ask me about the mug I was personalizing for her, but I was wrong, so very wrong. She was calling to let me know that the TR had lost a jet, it was a two seater (not one of ours) and both pilots were found unharmed. Guess what? At that moment, I realized this deployment hasn’t been that bad. I feel like THOSE guys (or gals) are having a s***** deployment. Those two pilots: they are 100% having the worst deployment. Those families? They get to spend some time b******* about how much deployment sucks. But in reality, those families aren’t complaining and neither are the pilots.
Today we, as a Navy family, are counting our blessings. Today I realized that this deployment doesn’t suck as much as others. Today, I remember pilots who weren’t as lucky and some that were never found after an incident. When I think of the sailors who missed a loved one’s last breath, missing the first breath of a child doesn’t seem so terrible anymore.
Now that I have some perspective, I realize that no matter how tough my day may seem, someone else’s is worse. When I think about the sailor who is mourning a loss or struggling in their marriage from afar, I realize that my lizard isn’t such a big deal. When I think about how terrified those pilots must have been when they realized there jet was going down, nothing seems that bad.
Perspective. The instant cure for even my worst pity party.
~Tonyia Doyle is a Navy Spouse, mom to 2 handsome sons, and Military Spouses of Strength’s newest blog series contributor. She began to blog as a way of talking about her own struggles with depression and other mental health issues. Through therapy and medication, she is working towards her own healing and has chosen to share her real life with MSoS readers in hopes of raising mental health awareness.