So Ryan's been gone for a bit, no need to get specific...OPSEC and all, but while I was cleaning up after dinner tonight and thinking to myself that these leftover Chicken Kebobs were going to be AH-MAZING tomorrow for lunch, I realized that they were the perfect "husband" sized portion...and instead of getting sad, I actually thought...there might be a plus side to this quasi-single parenthood. So here comes my somewhat ridiculous, sometimes trivial attempt at "10 Good things about Deployment".
1. Leftovers/Deployment Dinners
After being used to cooking for a family of 5, and now having the main eater removed from the equation, I find myself bombarded with leftovers. I myself, am not a big fan, but I usually end up "recycling" or recreating the previous meal into something new (taco night is always followed closely by beef stroganoff night). The girls however require "real" lunches and leftovers are just the thing! In addition to leftovers, you have what my friends and I have dubbed "deployment dinners"...things that you would NEVER serve your husband and probably should never admit to eating. For instance, some nights it's just easier to pretend you are back in college and feed everyone cereal, or toss some hot dogs in a pot of boiling water followed closely by mac n cheese and maybe a few carrots and ranch dip just to ease the guilt of feeding your kids crap a little. We also take FULL advantage of deals like "Kids Eat Free at IHOP every Tuesday" or "Free kids meals at Wendy's when you buy an adult meal" nights. The kids eat, someone else cooks and cleans, everyone is happy.
2. A Get Out of Bed Free card:
You can literally get out of bed, not put on any make up, or shave your legs, and walk around with out your significant other EVER knowing. Go ahead, throw your hair up in a pony tail...wet, and throw on some "work out" clothes (aka buying really cute gym outfits so that you can run around and have people thinking how "good" you look going to the gym and wondering how great you must look when you actually try when in reality you are totally faking it). It's actually very liberating...and makes dressing up so much more fun when your loved one returns. Not to mention all the money you save by not having to replace razors or makeup.
3. Cover Hog's paradise:
See all those covers, see all that bed...it is all yours for however long he's gone. You can sleep sideways if you want, take his favorite pillow, not make up the bed, whatever you want because it.is.all.yours.
4. Complete Controller Control:
You have complete control over the Television, radio, a/c, heat...whatever you want you can do it. Want to watch a Vampire diaries marathon all day Saturday? Have a sick affection for Zombie films or Ghost Whisperer??? Go ahead and indulge, no one is around to complain (accept for your children...)
5. Books, Books, and more Books
I LOVE to read, and find that I spend a large portion of my "free time" that is usually our "quality couple time" reading....and it tends to be trashy romance novels. Things that my husband teases me for.
6. Ms. Fix-It
We all know Murphy's Law of Deployments If it can go wrong, it will go wrong....something WILL break, someone WILL get sick (probably requiring a trip to the ER) and some major purchase or decision WILL have to happen. So get ready to learn a new skill, how to navigate tricare and other such demands having three small children with the stomach flu will do to ya. To date, I have learned how to repair and replace the waterhose connector thing on the fridge, replace the innards of a toilet, eliminate clogs and snake drains, bug bombed a nest of yellow jackets while pregnant, installed shelves, and put air in my tires. These are things I would have NEVER even thought about doing but because of my Darling Husband who would do them for me, but I have become quite adept at googling how-to videos and trying my hand.
7. "Endearing" traits are gone
Ryan is a pretty amazing and is a nearly perfect husband. And by nearly perfect, I mean he likes to clean his razor and leave the clippings IN THE SINK. It drives me nuts, and has since we were first married. I drive him bonkers because I am handicapped in the area of putting lids properly back on things like the toothpaste, milk jug and various other cartons. These minor annoyances or "endearing traits" of a relationship are absent as soon as the other leaves the house. I don't have to clean the sink and he doesn't complain about my inability to close things. It's a win-win.
8. To Laugh at oneself, Cope with Stress, and Roll with the punches
I have never in my life been so humbled (other than perhaps by childbirth) as I am when my husband is gone. I learn what sets me off, I learn what stresses me out, and I learn how to handle those stresses (bubble bath, candles, chocolate, and good book, please. Wine is optional.). I have had to learn to laugh at myself when I am so stressed and can't find my phone only to open up the fridge to grab a juice box and see it sitting on the shelf next to the butter. I learn to roll with the punches and be grateful for what I have. Three days in a row last week the kids and I had 5 am wake ups for doctors appointments, therapy appointments, meetings and what not. We got up, we got dressed, and we went with it because it was the only option. Learning to roll with the punches and find laughter in a situation can be the key to surviving.
I learn to appreciate my spouse, to appreciate the little things he does (like take out the trash) that I now have to do. I remember to say thank you to him when he gets home and takes the trash out. As rough as deployments are on a relationship, I have found that ours continues to improve because of them. We learn to "read" the signs of stress through a broken up skype image, we support each other across the miles with an emailed joke/comic, videos of the kids, or flowers because he knows I had a rough day which lead to me crying behind the kitchen counter while the kids played in the other room. Our communication skills are honed and sharpened by the distance and demands of deployment.
I get to look forward to a day, a time, when I get greeted by my husband because he has missed me for an extended period of time. We get to think about that day, dream about that day, and plan that day. And then we get to live it out. We get that first kiss fireworks explosion over and over again. I get to go shopping, primp, shave my legs, and dress up so that I look my best for the man of my dreams. We have memories to share, stories to tell, and we get to stay up looking at each other making sure that the dream is now real. I get to cook "real food" and have it appreciated. I get to share the covers, TV, and movie picking decisions. I get to cuddle with my husband, reach my foot out at night and touch his leg just to make sure he is still there. And those endearing traits, they reappear and for awhile you are so glad to see those razor clippings in the sink...they actually make you smile.
Don't get me wrong---Deployments/Trips/TDYs/Seperation from the man you love sucks, but there is always a silver lining.