Deployment Sucks

So, deployment sucks. My husband left for one recently, and it’s already burning a hole in my life. As a Navy family, we’ve been through deployments before, but this is our first one officially on a submarine. For reasons known only to Obama and his administration, it was decided that it cost too much to pay for my husband to stay in his old job. Instead, they decided that the American people would be better off paying for him to train for a year to switch to submarines, but that’s a story for another time. Anyway, he is deployed for the first time on a sub. In some ways, sub deployments are worse than surface deployments, and in other ways they’re better. The deployments are shorter now than they used to be. He can communicate about the same amount, though. One of the disadvantages of subs is the secrecy. We can’t tell anyone over the phone when he’s leaving or when he’s coming back. No specifics can be given. Even the specifics I have are vague. I have no idea where they’re going, what they’re doing, or when they’re coming back. Of course, I couldn’t really know any of that on surface either. But still…

The funny part strikes when you’re trying to communicate with family. Both my family and his live in other states. This means that our primary communication is through phone calls, texts, and emails. It also means we can’t tell them anything. So we can’t say, “No, Mom, don’t come that weekend because he’ll be gone.” We can’t tell them when to schedule the vacation to the beach, because that would indicate when he might be back. The night before he left, my husband wanted to call his parents to tell them that he loved them. I tried to talk him out of it. He didn’t listen. I told him not to say it in a way that would scare them. He didn’t listen. The conversation ended up going the way one might go if my husband had been preparing to jump off of a building.

Him: Hi Dad.
Dad: Hey, son! How are you?
Him: Good. I’m just calling to tell you that I love you.
(silence for a minute or two)
Dad: Oh my God, are you okay? What’s going on?
Him: I’m fine, Dad, I just wanted to say that I love you.
Dad: You’re scaring me…
(at this point I’m laughing and telling my husband that I TOLD him this would happen, and my husband is looking panicky and full of regret)
Him: Everything is fine, I just wanted to call you guys. Calm down.
Dad: Let me put your mom on.

Then we were put on speakerphone with the both of them. His mother is almost apoplectic. They soon figured out at least partially why he was calling to tell them he loved them, but that opened the door to even more confusion. The conversation ended up being a lot of questions, all of which my husband had to answer with: “I can’t tell you that. No, you know I can’t tell you that.” His poor parents. Finally, the call ended with his parents reassuring me that they were there for me, and if I needed anything at all, they were only a phone call away.

Now, his parents are adorable. I think I have the most awesome in-laws that ever existed. So I can’t help but feel bad for them that they only get a I-may-never-see-you-again-so-I-love-you phone call from their son. Usually, the way it works is that once my husband is officially gone, I give everyone a phone call letting them know he has left (you can tell people once the boat is actually out to sea, you just can’t tell them before it happens). Tonight I’ll call my mother and his parents to give them the word, and I’ll reassure them that I am fine. Which brings me back to my point…

Deployment sucks. It’s going to be hard and lonely. I’ll be a single parent. I’ll handle all the chores alone. If someone makes a mess, it’s all me. If the baby poops in his diaper, it’s all me. Getting kids to school? Me. Sick kids? Me. And about fifty thousand other things. On the other hand, he’s working his butt off God knows where, lonely as hell. I guess he and I are even. I will be fine, and so will he. We have gotten through it before, we’ll get through it this time. But today, deployment sucks.

16 thoughts on “Deployment Sucks

  1. That’s a beautiful post, Cari. It must be hard to live with the navy career, but from the way it sounds, you and your husband are strong people and are managing superbly. Best of luck with the deployment.


  2. We civilian types never think about these “little details” and how it screws up the lives of those who serve our country. My cousin was a Navy commander (now retired), and he and his wife and kids never mentioned things like this. I have deep respect for your commitment.


    1. Yeah, sorry about that! I’ve been doing really well. Just focusing more attention on other projects for a little bit. I should be back to posting fairly regularly now. Thank you for missing me!


  3. Nice to meet up with you on twitter. This is an old thread but I wanted to say how much I appreciate you and your husband for your service
    My wife and I spent 9 years in the nuc sub force. I was on fast attacks, she handled our family while I was out. It was hard, very hard at times.
    Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
    Look forward to talking about books, writing, navy life, etc.


  4. Its difficult being a wife let alone to one serving the nation. Behind every soldier is a mother, a wife, a sister, feel proud and pray for him. God bless you and your family!


    1. It certainly can be hard at times. Any marriage will have struggles. Adding a deployment schedule and strict work requirements can make it even more difficult. I have to always keep in mind that my husband doesn’t always have flexibility and choice in certain matters. He can’t leave work if a kid is sick. He can’t just take his vacation when he wants. We will have to move. However, in its own way, the military life offers some things that others don’t have. I don’t have to worry about his job security. I have great healthcare. The neighborhoods are full of kids, and my children always have someone with whom to play. I choose to look at the positives rather than the negatives. While this life certainly isn’t for everyone, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.


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