The fact that men and women react to stress differently is well known. The fact that military spouses and their husbands react to deployments differently is also well known. Spend a few hours with a family that is close to deployment and you will be able to live this difference first hand. Welcome to my home. My husband is about to deploy. Here is a typical snapshot of our conversations.
Me - ready to take on the family command post: I walk around the house making a list of all the things hubby has to do before leaving. The list grows exponentially: You have to clean the garage, switch the kids rooms, the one they are in right now is too dark, move the computer to the study room, re-organize all the closets, fix the desk, buy a new lock for the fence, take the pets to the vet, put the crib together, adjust the blinds in the guest room, give precise instruction to your mother not to insanely call me with all sorts of odd requests, show me exactly how to change the light bulb outside which screwdriver goes where, what kind of light bulb to get.
Hubby about to pass on family command: Yes dear, yes dear, yes dear.
Me: Have you given me full power of attorney? Have you written down all of the passwords I need to know? Who do I call if the computer doesn't work? Can I go to Disney if I am too stressed out?
Hubby: Yes dear, yes dear, call Bill dear, not Disney dear .
Sometimes I happen to call him at work and ask for necessary information such as, should I ask Kate or Tami to go see Kenny Chesney when you are deployed, but can I go five months pregnant?
At other times, I call him to tell him that I love him and will miss him when he is gone. I get momentarily sad thinking about our personal sacrifice, about the long separation and the danger of what he does. But, I see my children running around in the kitchen, my troops, those who are counting on me to do the job right no matter what. And I think about those who are counting on my husband, his troops, his squadron, his country.
So I cheer up again and proceed with the change of command ceremony.
Me: We need to reorganize the furniture in our bedroom, maybe we should get the kids a bunk bed, we have to move the big chair from the study and fix the door to the baby s closet .
Hubby: Yes dear, yes dear, yes dear.
And the list goes on.
Anita is a free-lance writer and columnist. Her column "Out of the Blue" appears in several newspapers across the country. Anita is currently working on a non-fiction book and maintains a web-site http://www.anitadoberman.com. She is married to an Air Force pilot and they have five children. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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