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Doing it Again: How to prepare for yet another deployment

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This past week we got the semi-official news that my husband will be deployed again next year. I don’t consider anything official until he leaves, but this announcement most likely means he will be deploying for a fourth time in 2013.

This deployment won’t be our longest with the Army, switching to 9 month deployments instead of 12 or 15. I am very thankful for that. At the same time I am not sure how it is going to go. I have always had R&R to look forward to and this time there won’t be one.

I tell myself that my kids are older now. Going through a deployment with an 8, 6 and 2 year has to be easier than going through one with a 6, 4 and newborn right? Maybe, but maybe not. Because my kids are older they may take Daddy’s absence a little harder. On the other hand not having to deal with the baby stage as much will be nice.

I also tell myself that because this is my 4th deployment, it will be easier. Maybe it will be, but maybe it won’t. Each deployment is different. Each time my husband has gone over there he has done a different job. This deployment may be harder for us and I need to prepare myself for that.

Since Christmas is coming up I don’t want to think too much about it but after the new year I plan to make a bunch of lists. I want to make a list of ideas and projects to keep me busy. I plan to make a list of goals for myself. I also plan to figure out what we want to do with the extra money. I hope we are able to pay down some of our debt and putting a plan in place before he leaves is a good idea.

I plan to wait and talk to my children about it until we get closer to the date. I know it will be hard for my older two when they know Daddy is going to have to leave. I don’t think my two-year old will understand until after the deployment begins.

As my soldier starts preparing for the deployment with his unit by training and completing paperwork, I will try to get ready for this deployment in our home. As much as I want to hide my head in the sand and tell everyone I know I am not ready for yet another deployment, I need to be strong and prepare myself.

My husband will miss 9 months of our lives. He will be gone for the summer and a Christmas. He will miss seeing my oldest son start 2nd grade and will miss my youngest turning three. He will miss sports, Boy Scout activities and lazy weekends at home. It will not be an easy time for us. I just hope that I can make it less difficult by preparing for it.

Often times people ask the spouse of an almost deployed solider if they are ready for the deployment and the answer is usually, “No.” I don’t think you are ever really ready for it. But you can prepare and that is what I intend to do.

I remind myself that I have been through three other deployments, I can get through a fourth.