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.