The Pre-Deployment Plan

When someone says that his/her spouse is deployed, my empathy immediately goes out to the person left behind while also praying for their spouse’s safety.   When it comes to the spouses who are counting down the days, I understand how challenging it is to be without their loved ones, especially if you’re raising children without additional support.  Many thoughts go through my mind when thinking about my own husband’s upcoming deployment, but I don’t usually focus on any fear or uncertainty that he might actually have while preparing for a deployment…until today.   Today was one of those days that I was shocked by the words of another sailor.  This sailor said the unexpected, when talking about a future deployment.  He actually expressed his fear and uncertainty, stating, “I have an uneasy feeling about my future deployment.  I’ve deployed several times and never felt this feeling in the pit of my stomach.”  I was speechless. Yes, Mrs. Conversational Lush, was at a lost for words.  I took a deep breath and remained silent, while slowly shaking my head.  My tongue was inactive, but my thoughts were all over the place.  I finally uttered the questions, “What scares you? What’s different this time?”  This visibly strong, intelligent, career-driven man simply shook his head…this guy was really unsure and I could see it all over his face.  His uncertainty became my clarity!  Our conversation created a segue into plans for his future after the deployment, but my mind remained on his ambiguity about his pre-deployment.   The discussion ended on a note with hope, but I kept thinking of ways to help my own husband prepare for his future deployment, if he should also feel uneasy from time-to-time.  Now, more than ever, I’m determined to send him off with a spirit of optimism and faith.  And so, my preparation list begins now!

 

My list is a work in progress. But for now, I plan on doing these things for my husband:

  1. Pray for his strength, safety, and discernment–DAILY.
  2. Pray for the service-members who will also be deployed at that time, to make the right choices and dutifully complete their tasks.
  3. Start making/buying care package items with various themes.
  4. Take a pre-deployment, professional family picture.
  5. Have children do a hand-painting sign, with the words: “You’re in Good Hands.”
  6. Take a family trip, even if it’s only a couple of hours away.
  7. FAST from complaints, no matter how minor they are.  A week or two weeks, if possible!
  8. Write a few notes on notecards, put inside of envelopes and place them in his bag the night before.  Write “Open When….” On the outside of the envelopes.
  9. Attend the pre-deployment brief.
  10. Confirm his mailing address and phone numbers.
  11. Set personal goals (weight loss, purging, paying off debts, trips with other families, etc).
  12. Connect with other spouses now, to check on each other periodically while our spouses are away.
  13. Create a “Kisses Jar” countdown for children with Hershey Kisses in it. Label it: “Kisses from Daddy.” Give them a “kiss” once a day.
  14. Take a picture of the kids in front of a blackboard with, “The Day Before Deployment, We Were…” Put height, weight, interests, abilities, etc. Take another one when he returns.
  15. Create a list of spiritual verses/quotes.
  16. Take him to get a massage.
  17. Keep agitation in check.
  18. Check in with him. I will miss him, but has three of us to miss…
  19. Disconnect from social media for one full day…even if he doesn’t.
  20. Get all necessary paperwork (like Power of Attorney) and passwords in order.
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