Thursday, June 12, 2008

Left Behind?

Ever since I've discovered the world of milspouse blogging, I've become a frequent reader of SpouseBuzz. It is a wonderful website for people like me who are trying to get through deployments, TDYs, PCSs, and everything else a military lifestyle can throw your way. (As a side note, I'm still getting used to the endless list of acronyms that the military so likes to use. Here's a complete list for anyone who's interested....I'm not even going to pretend I know them all!) The numerous milspouse blogs that I frequent have kept me going, reminding me that I'm not alone in this whole thing. They've taken the place of my FRG (omg look, another acronym!) 

Last month and again this past week, Joan d'Arc, a contributing blogger on SpouseBuzz wrote about feeling left behind when their spouse leaves for one reason or another (first post here and second post here). A lot of milspouses weighed in on the term, with varying feelings on the subject. Some stated that their husbands are just doing their jobs and didn't choose to leave, with some going as far as comparing TDY/deployment to them going to work (a 15 month deployment is a little different from an 8-hour workday in my opinion.....just a little, though). Some said in a sense they do feel left behind because sometimes their spouses go off to some exotic, exciting place while they stay at home. 

For me, I definitely do feel left behind. I know my husband didn't choose to leave, to leave me with the task of selling our house, to leave me with our troublesome puppy, or to leave me to cope with no close friends or family. He tells me all the time how much he wished he could be home with me, and this makes me feel good. I'm getting through it. I sold the house, our dog is behaving better than ever now, and I'm keeping busy for the most part, successful some days and failing on others. What I don't like about this deployment is the fact that my life has essentially been on hold now for 6.5 months, and will continue to be on hold for another 8.5 months (not to mention he doesn't come home for R&R until late November!) I'm normally a person who tries to live life to the fullest, but during these deployment stints, I'm sitting and waiting for my life to resume. I find it hard to take up anything new, because I want to do it with him. I mean, isn't that how marriage is supposed to work anyways? You're supposed to walk the path of life together, share life experiences. It occurred to me that even seemingly small things are affected by this feeling I'm experiencing. For instance, I haven't made much of an effort to decorate the house. Sure, I hung up whatever pictures we have (save the big, heavy ones for hubby!), but there's so much more I would like to do, but I haven't because I want his opinion and he isn't here to give it to me. I have a huge blank wall in the living room that's driving me crazy and I don't know what to do with it. A lot of women would just go ahead and do what they want, but I don't operate that way.

I miss having a man around the house. Although I pride myself in being a physically strong woman, I can't lift everything! I think Jon is pretty lucky for having  a tough cookie of a wife such as myself. I mean, just the two of us moved our entire belongings to Tucson! One man and one woman carrying all the full boxes, couches, washer and dryer, and bedroom furniture--any typical woman wouldn't have been able to handle all that! I never want to do that again! Like I said, there are a couple heavy pictures I can barely lift above my head, let alone hang up on a wall. A TV has been sitting on my bedroom floor for months now because I simply could not lift it up to put it up on Jon's high dresser (I have really weak shoulders and can't lift much above shoulder height). These tasks all necessitate manly strength that I lack.

Another aspect of being left behind is having to deal with living totally different lives. I feel like we are going in different directions during this time. What is important and pertinent in his daily life right now are not the same for me in mine. That's a hard pill for me to swallow. Sometimes I scare myself that these differences will develop into something more and that he will be a completely different man from the one that I fell in love with and the one I know.

I think this deployment would go a lot more smoothly for me if I felt I had some purpose in life. When he was home, being with him and being happy was my purpose, but that is gone now. In terms of the rest of my life, I'm not doing what I want to be doing in the job area, I got rejected from nursing school last March, I'm far from the other people who matter to me most, and I feel stuck. I think these feelings, this need for a purpose, have been the reason for my strong urge to have children. Because I know when this happens, my life will change forever and my life will be my kids. I am ready to take the step and dedicate my entire being to this purpose. This deployment isn't the first time I've been thinking about it. I've been wanting a baby for a while now. If only Jon were ready too. I suppose we should give it more time, considering we've only been married a year now. But when will he be ready?


loquita said...

I actually stopped reading milspouse blogs for a few months, because it seemed like everyone was dealing w/ deployments by diving into caring for their children. And I certainly don't have anything that concrete to focus on while LT is gone. It really contributed a lot to my feeling like I was an outsider.

And being on-hold... OMG yes. That's where I think our bloggy battle buddy communities are at a disadvantage to an "in person" FRG. Those women can get together and go *DO*. We can encourage one another to not hold back from developing new interests and activities just because the men in our lives are gone, but that's not the same as my coming by to pick you up for painting class, or something like that. :)

Tania said...

Hey Loqui....I agree with you there. While we can offer each other support we are still physically alone and relying on ourselves to get motivated to dosomething. I personally lack that motivation....I'm just lazy. I didn't have access to an FRG last deployment because I was "just a girlfriend" but even now, my FRG is located 75 miles away and all their meetings (when they do have them) or on weeknights so I can't make them. And it seems that all their activities are for moms so they're no good to me.

Jaime said...

Hi Tania ;)

I'll say it again, I wish I lived closer, I can't imagine how hard the sacrifice you and your husband make for all of us is and I'm so grateful. On days I want to vent or gripe I am reminded by you to keep it in perspective.

I told my husband about offering you the book (Twilight) and he said, "she might think you're an internet crazy!" so if that is the case, I truly do apologize. I'd just hoped to share something and brighten your day.

I hope you're having a wonderful weekend.


Tania said...

Thanks for the comment Jaime! As much as I complain about this deployment business, I'm still really proud of my husband and feel honored to be "doing this for our country." I figure if it's not us, then it's going to be somebody else and I know I can handle it for the most part. War tears families apart, on the battle front and on the home front. It's not tearing this marriage apart, that's for sure!

It's so sweet of you to think of me and want to send me Twilight! It's funny....I was at Target today looking for another book when I saw the whole Twilight series and I actually sprung for the book! It was only $8 so I had to buy it! Starting it tonight!

Jaime said...

Hey Again ;) I'm so glad you two have such a strong marriage and love for one another. I can't wait until he is home and you two are reunited.

Oh Yay!! You got it! I have to confess, I wanted you to read it so badly it was both for me and you to send it so I'm so happy you have it now. Just promise me, will you please let me know if you like it?

I got my Mom (in law) hooked on the series. She read them all within a week! She loves them almost as much as I do. We've had several conversations about them.

So when you're done let me know how you liked it and if you rush out and grab the next ones! ;)