When you think about it, what was once uncharted territory is now familiar ground, sort of a home turf. As I've told so many people who've called to check up on me or written to see how I'm doing, this isn't my first time around the block. I know what to expect this time. I know how this game is played, how this song is supposed to be sung. Obviously, we miss my wife deeply. We wish she were here. And yes, deployments do indeed still suck. And yet, in spite of those feelings, this deployment isn't the crushing monolith that the last one was. Sure, I'm tired and we've probably eaten out more than I'd like to because I'm not in the mood to cook. But at the end of the day, I sleep peacefully, the kids are happy, and I'm content.
You see, once you've been through a deployment, each additional one brings fewer and fewer surprises. You know what you're doing, you know how to cope, and you know how to win. That's right, I said win, because I believe that, as milspouses, we can win during a deployment. We can use the time to better ourselves and grow. Further, as we grow and (dare I say) get stronger with each deployment, we are far more capable at helping fellow spouses who are having a tough time of it. When we say we're all in this together, we have a responsibility to reach out to our fellow spouses and encourage them, lift them up, and help them along.
It is amazing to me what a difference a year makes. Having learned so much about myself during the last deployment, I'm in a totally different place this time around. Sure, there will be down days, and yes, the deployment blues still strike unexpectedly. However, I'm ready to face each day and I'm confident that I will be just fine this time around.