...that are NOT things a military spouse wants to hear.
The theme of this blog of late has been Mark's impending departure. And while the last few weeks have been wonderful, the time has been incredibly emotional. He's been home more, we've had extra family time, all with the caveat that he is getting ready to leave...for a pretty long time.
We have tried to approach this deployment with a certain level of matter-of-factness. It is our turn. Lots of Daddy's have to leave. And we have a job ourselves...to try our best to do our best at all times. Just like Daddy does.
We try not to feel sorry for ourselves.
This is how our family is coping.
Many, many families are going to say goodbye tomorrow as well. Nearly 300 families.
These spouses, children, and parents will cry, and worry, and pray that their soldier will come home safely.
I wish my story ended there.
I wish people, (those who do not have a loved one deployed) when they hear Mark is deployed/deploying, would simply say something like, "I'll say a prayer for your family".
Maybe acknowledge we must really miss him.
A well meaning, but otherwise thoughtless individual said each of the following phrases to me at soccer the other day...
1. I didn't think we were sending people over there any more.
Maybe you didn't think so. Perhaps you don't read the news. Perhaps you haven't noticed all of the homecoming banners on the homes on our post. Did you know you work on a post that has three infantry brigades? Each of which is, was, or is going to be deployed?
Newsflash...soldier's are still "going over there."
2. At least he's not going to be gone for a year.
You are right...well-meaning-but-otherwise-thoughtless-individual. At least he isn't gone for a year. Or thirteen months. Or longer. Why don't you tell my soon-to-be-six-year-old that it's a good thing her Daddy is not gone for a year when her Dad misses her birthday...again. Or tell my children this fact on Christmas Eve when their Dad won't be here to listen to their Christmas dreams?
You are right sir. I am so thankful my husband won't be gone a year. However, I will argue that only a family that is going through this (or has gone through it) gets to utter those words...please don't say them for me.
3. Well...you have a lot of kids so you are going to be really busy. It probably won't be that bad.
This statement is just as thoughtless kind sir. Really? Did you just say these words? I am not sure if you are judging me because you think I have too many children or think that I won't miss my spouse because I have four children and they'll keep me really busy?
I'll just try to ignore this statement and continue to play soccer with two of my too many kids.
4. I think that we should just send all the single soldiers over there. I mean why don't we just send the people that don't have families?
Another statement that I really don't know how to respond to. Seriously? Did these words come out of your mouth? Surely you aren't saying that spouses and mothers and fathers are more valuable?These young men and women are leaving behind their own mothers and fathers and siblings and friends and fiancee's, and....so many promises.
If I were more eloquent...I would have said something remarkable to you. Instead, your words were met with silence.
My particular favorite from our mercifully brief conversation was...
5. It's really not that dangerous over there.
Is this comment meant to make me feel better? Did you say it to make yourself feel better? Did you say this so I wouldn't worry?
Not true. Not thoughtful. Not helpful.
If you'll excuse me I need to coach my kids' soccer game...I don't have time to make you feel better about my spouse deploying.
This particular post may seem as if I am a bit bitter toward this man. I am not. I have no hard feelings toward him.
But he works with the children of the families who live on a post of thousands of soldiers. Perhaps no one has told him...what not to say.
Maybe next time he'll simply say, "I am sure you and your beautiful children are really going to miss him".