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.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kids are resilient, why aren't we?

Now that our 3rd separation in the last 12 months is nearing an end (I consider it a separation any time my wife leaves the country for a war zone for anything more than 2 weeks) I can't help but marvel at my children. So much of how we as spouses endure deployments gets talked about, but our kids seem to fly under the radar. Sure, we do hear about the kids who really struggle with mom or dad being deployed, but so many more kids just seem to bounce back and find a way to keep moving forward. Thinking back over last year's 12 month deployment I remember all of the "bad" days I had, days when I was way down in the dumps, lonely, angry, and full of heartache. I remember going to bed in tears as I stared at the untouched pillow on the other side of the bed. I remember those days and how hard they were.

My kids, on the other hand, were amazing. In fact, the way that they just carried on was quite humbling to me. I remember thinking about them just before my wife deployed to Afghanistan back in July of 2009. I remember I was expecting the worst: kids crying in the night, doing poorly in school, withdrawing from other kids... Sure, the first week my wife was gone they were down. But then school started along with all of those extracurricular activities they all do. They found friends to play with and got busy just being kids. In short... they were far more resilient that I ever was. This was also the case when my wife was gone for three and a half weeks in January, and again these past two weeks. I'm amazed by them.

I've learned that I'm not the only parent with amazing kids. I've known lots of spouses dealing with deployments. What I've found is that the vast majority of their children simply carry on with being kids. They go to school, they do their stuff, and then they go outside and play. Military kids bounce back from these separations far better than we, their parents, do. My bad days outnumbered my kids' bad days by a factor of 10! Yes, they had some, but nothing like I did, and I thought I did pretty well...

I've talked to so many people who are in deployments and who are about to go through a deployment. The range of emotions is vast. Most of them have kids and have concerns about how they will do during the separation. Well, if there's one piece of advice I can give to you, it's this: your kids will be fine. So long as you continue to give them the love they need, they will bounce back quickly and will get back to doing what they do best: being kids! Establish a routine that is predictable that they can flourish in, and then sit back and watch them fly.

What's more, and you'll see this for yourself, your children will actually HELP YOU THROUGH THE DEPLOYMENT! Just by being themselves, they'll bring out the laughter that you though was gone. They will make the smiles return and, if nothing else, they will give you a compelling reason to pick yourself up off the ground get yourself moving again. Many days I just wanted to stay in the bed and hope it would hurry on by. But their vitality got me moving. And you know what? It's ok to laugh and smile during a deployment. Children do it every day. Maybe we could learn something from them!

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

2 comments:

  1. It's so true that military kids adjust so well to a parent moving in and out of their life. My daughter still adjusts well although her father is retired now and travels 4 days a week. She helps me. So you're right on the money. Hooah!!!

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  2. we are 2 months into our first deployment...You are right. I am far worse than them. My kids are very much daddy's kids so i was worried and nervous. But I have more bad days than they do. My oldest daughter seems to have the worst time when they do have a bad day, but they do keep me laughing and happy. They help me more than I could possibly say.

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