About Me

Fort Bragg, NC, United States
I'm a stay at home dad raising four beautiful children. I am the proud spouse of an Army Lieutenant Colonel. I do my best to keep up with the kids and all of their activities. I enjoy playing the bass and the occasional bass guitar building project. You can follow me on twitter if you so desire...@ArmySpouse007.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A new year, the same challenges

So here we are, the first day of the new year. So much happened in 2010 that it seems hard to remember what life was like just a year ago. A year long deployment lasted through the middle of the year. Three months were spent in reintegration, learning to be a family again. Thanksgiving and Christmas were spent together, unlike 2009. A year of flux and change.

And so now, I have to admit that as late as last week I looked to 2011 with a sense of hope that the new year would bring an opportunity for us to be together for a while longer, to avoid any more deployments for as long as possible. At first, we believed that there wouldn't be any until early 2012 at the earliest. Now... we could be looking at another separation as early as May.

The Army tracks what is known as Dwell Time. This is the time that your soldier spends at home, and not deployed. What they strive for is a 1 to 1 ratio: 1 year deployed, 1 year at home. And while that is likely to increase in the years to come, so far it hasn't. Where this can go awry, though, is when your soldier changes units. Let's say he/she got back in July, then went to a different unit not long after. If they are deploying before the year at home is up, then he/she may very well be out of luck. This... is our situation. Instead of getting a year together, it is possible that we'll endure another separation as soon as May, meaning we will have only had 10 months together.
Deployments are nothing new. Milspouses have been enduring them for the last 10 years. And while they are difficult and challenging (especially when children are involved) they aren't the end of the world. We face them with a determination, to not just survive, but to thrive in them.

A new year brings a sense of newness, an opportunity to change one's self for the better. Milspouses, though, must temper this with the realization that many of the challenges of the previous year will return in the coming year. This makes remembering what you've learned in previous deployments so vital for the coming years. All of us have a tendency to try and put the former difficulties behind us and move on with our lives. The danger in this, however, is that many of those difficulties will be back. I learned so much about myself during my wife's last deployment. I made changes to who I was and decided I'd be a better husband and father than ever before. I have to remember what brought me though that year because that is what will get me through the next deployment.

Many of you who read my blog are also facing deployments in 2011. Remember that you survived the last one. Remember that, in the end, it wasn't as bad as you believed it would be. Remember that a deployment gives you the opportunity to better yourself. Remember all of the things that you learned about yourself and KNOW, not just believe, that you can do it. And finally, ALWAYS REMEMBER... You Are Not Alone.

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You can follow me on Twitter if you so choose... @Armyspouse007

1 comment:

  1. My wife just joined the Army. She is in BCT right now then she goes to OCS. I am a civilian attorney who will now need to look into a new career. I am excited and scared of what lies ahead.