Saturday, April 14, 2012

How to Help While Adam's Deployed

I did not plan on Adam being in the military.  If you had asked 22-year-old me if I ever even thought Adam would be interested in enlisting, I would have laughed in your face.  Hard.

So as the time gets closer and closer to this whole deployment thing, it gets harder and harder for me to breathe.  This. is. so. hard.  (How many times do you think I can say the word hard in this post?)

This week was hard (5 so far!) in so many different ways.  You already know about the whole PhD thing.  But after that, I was informed that I had been invited to attend a mandatory briefing about Adam's deployment.  On a weekend when I am supposed to be out of town at a conference that I was super pumped about.  With a hotel room that I had already paid for.  Drat. 

So, you know, I'm mostly concerned about keeping my shit together during the 4 hours of informational overload that will take place.  All centered around the concept that my husband will be going to war.  Gone.  For a year. 

Here's where I remind you that Adam and I have AMAZING FRIENDS.  AMAZING.

I texted a friend, asked her to go with me.  She responded with, "Of course!"  Our friends are really humbling for me.  They remind me how self-centered I am.  I mean, seriously. 

Would I sit through a 4-hour informational suckfest with one of my friends?  I'm not so sure.

I came across this awesome blog post from this wonderful blog called Hopeful Future.  (Though, it was borrowed from Singing Through the Rain.  Wanna give credit where credit is due!)There is a lot of information there, but I thought I would highlight some of it through my blog. 

What kind of support could friends offer your husband or his (Troop? Group? I’m totally clueless as to what they are called…)
It’s called a squadron. At least that is what it’s called in the Air Force. It may be different in other branches. And actually it just so happens that my husband’s squadron does not deploy as a unit. So if you sent something it would be per person not per squadron. If there was some kind of support you wanted to offer a deployed military member, I would say care packages, letters, and emails. Anything that you can send that would make him feel better or that would be encouraging to him. Cookies are very much appreciated! Depending on who you are sending it to, you could ask his wife/family what things he might need or like, such as snacks and toiletry items.

In the Army, it's called a unit.  My first concern is that Adam is taken care of.  He might have Internet access, which would be wonderful, but we're not sure at this point.  Ask me for his address.  Write him letters.  Send him e-mails.  Send him pictures of what you are doing.  Send him food.  He's good at letting me know what he needs and what I can send him.  One time, he asked for some Q-tips, which I thought were for cleaning your ears, so I sent him a little baggie with some Q-tips.  Turns out, he likes to use them to clean his gun, so he was a little put out when he only got a little sandwich baggie full.  Communication is key! 

If I lived close to you what would be the biggest help and/or support I could be to you?
I know a lot of civilian friends who feel the same way. They want to help, but they just aren’t sure how to, and while a blanketed statement such as, “If you need anything let me know” or “Let me know what I can do to help” is nice, it sometimes is embarrassing for us to have to ask. We don’t want people to think we can’t handle ourselves and our family while our husband is away. So here is a list of things you can do without asking:

  • Do her yard work. Things such as mowing the lawn, raking, or shoveling are very helpful.  (Reason #857 why we still live in an apartment.  But please know that everything breaks when Adam is gone.  And I don't know how to fix anything everything.)
  • Invite her over. On a weekend(s) for dinner or game night or any night. Weekends are the hardest day of the week for military wives because that is usually the time we would spend together as a family or on a date night with our husbands.  (Weekends are hard.  I try to fill the time with work and scheduling activities for every second of every day until I collapse in bed completely exhausted.) 
  • Babysit for her. Don’t ask her to tell you when she needs you, say that you would like to help out or give her a break once a week or once a month and have her pick a day.  (In case you were wondering why we weren't further along in the adoption process...this is it.)
  • Invite her over on special days or holidays. Days such as her birthday and anniversary and holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and Fourth of July are hard for her while her husband is gone. Invite her over or make sure she will not be alone on those days.  (Holidays and birthdays will be the biggies for while Adam is gone. He will also miss our anniversary.)
  • Church. If you go to church together ask her to sit with your family in church so she does not have to sit alone.  (The same thing applies to weddings and funerals.  Sitting by yourself sucks.) 
  • Grocery Shopping. Offer to pick up groceries for her and she can pay you back when you drop them off.  (These next two are really the big ones for me.  When Adam is gone, I typically experience a pretty constant level of anxiety-induced nasuea.  Which means ice cream is about the only thing I can choke down.  You can live on ice cream for 4 months.  Not sure about 12.)
  • Bring her a meal.  (Ice cream is easy because you don't have to cook it.)
  • Don’t just ask her how she’s doing. Chances are she will say she is fine and chances are that she’s not. Instead, tell her hi, give her a hug, and tell her that you care about her and are praying for her. Then actually pray for her.  (Pray please.  Pray for Adam.  Pray for me.  Pray for all the guys in his unit.  Pray for our President and Congress and military leadeship.  I am thinking about setting up a prayer schedule for Adam's deployment.  Let me know if you would be interested.  Please don't ask how I'm doing.  You know how I'm doing.  Just trust that this is harder than anything I've ever done in my entire life.  Let's go with that.)
  • Listen. Military wives need a friend. Someone to vent to and another adult to talk to since it’s just her and the children all day long.
Adam and I are an amazing team.  I love this about us.  But it means that when he's gone, so is half of my team.

And there is no 'I' in team. 


  1. Count me in on the prayer schedule!

  2. Hey!
    I just wanted to let you know that those tips came from my blog (Singing Through the Rain0 in a post called: "Dear Civilians: What Every Military Wife Wants You to Know"

    Glad it was helpful to you, and prayers and blessings as you start this deployment. We are at the very end of our very first deployment and it has been a roller coaster, but God got me through it! :)

    1. Hi Kathryn!

      Thanks for the heads up--I changed it so that traffic can get directed to you! It was a wonderful post and so helpful for our friends, since this is our first deployment (and my husband is National Guard, so the majority of our friends/family are unfamiliar with how the military and deployments work!).

      So glad to hear that you are nearing the end of a deployment! Praying your husband gets home safely! :)

  3. No problem! Paula from Hopeful Future was the one who asked me the questions and I wrote the answers. I posted the actual post on my blog, and she posted about it on hers, so I can see where it can be confusing! lol

    Yes, it's so hard for people to understand sometimes, I know since this was our first it was hard for some of our church friends and family to understand too. Thanks you so much I am so glad we are finally almost done. Hard to even believe it.