My first deployment, something I had been dreading since I first met my husband. I had agonized over it.

One year ago today my husband left for his first deployment! I still hold my breath thinking about it. I can remember exactly how I was feeling and what I was thinking. 

It was a day I had both dreaded and looked forward to since I first met him. My heart hurt, and still does, when I thought about being separated from him. But I was also incredibly excited for him as he set out on this adventure. And I was (still am) incredibly proud of him, and what he was setting out to do. 

It was a day that I was both wishing wouldn’t arrive and a day that I wanted to hurry up and get over with. I wanted more time with him but I also wanted to rip the band aid off and get things going. 

Deployment is inevitable in the military. But that doesn’t make it any easier or “normal”.

I was given a great piece of advice from a fellow military wife, when Phil and I first got married. She said I have two choices, when Phil deploys. I could let me life stop, get really sad and resent that Phil is gone or I can embrace it, celebrate it, be thankful for it. When she first told me that I was so confused. Couldn’t I do both?! And the answer is yes, but you have to lean one way. So I chose to celebrate and be thankful. (It was also incredibly hard and gut wrenching at times.)

When the day finally came I wasn’t sure that I could bring myself to watch the shop leave. But I am so glad I did. I didn’t know what to expect and I can honestly say that whatever I thought I would feel like/be like it was the opposite. 

The day Phil left he walked off his ship and gave me one last hug. Then he said “are you ready.” I wanted to scream NO! But instead I said yes. As I watched him walk away I felt an overwhelming amount of sadness but also an insane amount of love, strength and pride. In that exact moment, I loved him more than ever. I looked around and saw so many other military families, standing next to me.

I wish every American could watch a deployment. That they could watch the men and women man the rails, standing tall and proud as they set sail. I wish they could see the families on the pier who’s lives have been interrupted and who already miss their loved ones and yet they are also standing tall and proud. I felt an overwhelming amount of pride, sadness, strength, patriotism and love as I stood there. It’s a feeling I had never felt before. Like military homecomings, its hard to explain what a deployment feels like unless you have experienced on yourself.

sailor prepares to leave for first deployment

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