Last month, my wife was sent on TDY back to Afghanistan. She was there for almost a month. Many tried to "reassure" me by saying things like, "at least it's not for a year" or "she'll be home soon". But what so many fail to realize is this: whether it is a short TDY or a long deployment, being sent to a combat zone is dangerous and full of risks. Furthermore, whether it is a short separation or a long one, it is still a separation. You still have to go into deployment mode as a spouse. Once again, the overnight transition from being one parent with one role into being one parent with dual roles takes place. I go from being Dad to being both Dad and Mom.
So this week my wife transitions into a new unit here on Fort Bragg. The upside to this new unit is that they deploy for only 6 months. The downside is that her slot will come up in May. They've told her that they are well aware of her dwell time issues, that she won't have been home for a year until the end of July. That said, it might not make any difference. At this point, I would give it a 60/40 chance (deploy/not deploy) of happening. Add that to the month she just spent in Afghanistan... well you get the picture. 9 months home instead of a year. So now, we're waiting to find out. We should have a pretty good idea as to whether or not this is going to happen by late March/early April.
The fact is, if they tell her to go, then she'll go. And I'll go back into deployment mode again. One thing I can say is this: I don't fear the deployments any more. I've been through them, I know the depths of the trials they present. It is something I can not just survive, but thrive in. I remember the things I did to help cope with the challenges of the deployment. If it comes, I'll be ready for it. In the mean time, I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop.