Monday, January 11, 2010

Gracefully accepting the ways of the Navy? Yeah right!

January. I can honestly say that January has never been a favorite month of mine. So of course it becomes the month I got married so you have to wonder what the Big Guy upstairs is trying to tell me. Since I graduated college in 2005 January has always been a tough month. For reasons I cannot divulge it's just been host to a few less than savory events. I soon came to expect every January to bring something depressing or painful. I thought perhaps 2009 would break that vicious cycle when Colin and I tied the knot on the anniversary of his move (definitely depressing!) to Guam (1/3/2008). 2009 was a pretty darn good year for us. We had the time of our lives celebrating our time together after a year apart. It was fantastic!

So after riding through my first anniversary I was ready to coast through the remaining month and a half of Colin's deployment. After all I'm in North Carolina with one of my best friends, Chelsey, Jeff and their cute little son, Jeffrey. Getting ready to head back to Guam to see my pup and friends. Boy was I wrong. I found out today that Colin's been extended. 

Now before anyone says "I told you so," yes, I know that you should never expect your man to come home on time. However, who can really put their husband on a plane telling themselves "I hope he comes home safe, sometime next year." Uh huh, really. I need something tangible to live on and if a nice solid date (and flight number preferably) cannot be promised, a specific month should be practical. So I told myself March was the magic month. It sure helped me get through the first half. 

In today's military it is very common for deployments to be extended. It's just what happens. They need more people than they have to cover problem spots all over the globe. After all, only 1% of the U.S. population serves in the armed forces. Yes, ONE PERCENT. So we think about sacrifice. That is the classic word often heard in military jargon. Before I married the Navy I never completely understood (or really, just didn't care) the term. But I am beginning to. 

Most of our dating relationship was spent apart. We like to call it the Navy's version of premarital counseling. We got to spend a whole year learning the ropes of deployment, separation, change, communication and so on. So when Colin left last August, I figured I could do this. He'd be back the first week of March, we'd spend the rest of the year traveling and enjoying the rest of our time in Guam! Or, not. Now I've learned that he won't be coming back with the rest of his det, but rather on his own a month or so later. Knowing my temper he slyly snuck this into our conversation during a very groggy phone call at 7am this morning. Lovely. 

So once it all came clear (about a bowl of cereal and round of ABC's with Jeffrey) I wanted to cry. As if it was not hard enough waiting two more months. I went to the gym and pounded my aggressions out but it wasn't quite enough. Chelsey and I went to Barnes and Noble afterward to let Jeffrey play trains and read in the children's area (his absolute favorite activity...this kid rocks). I wandered the store looking for a novel to read on the plane tomorrow but as I walked around I began to feel as though the darn store knew the mood I was in. All these military wife books happened to be all over the place (doesn't hurt that this town is home to Fort Bragg, a base with over 60,000 troops). I tend to stray from these, they're pretty typical. Women talking about the pain and sacrifice of marrying a brave soldier or sailor, raising kids on her own and all the little things they hate along the way. Yes, some give you that fuzzy feeling inside at times but they're all pretty much the same most of the time. I end up realizing I can get the same advice from my girlfriends going through the exact same situation. However, since it was all staring me in the face, I spent some time looking at Confessions of a Military Wife by Mollie Gross. The book was pink, my favorite color and it had camouflage high heels on the front cover. Huh, where did she get those? Once I got over that random yet typical Caitlyn thought, I checked it out. It was the PERFECT therapy. I laughed my rear off just reading the first few pages. Hence the first chapter: 

“I remember when I hit rock bottom. There I was with no make-up on, hadn’t showered, eating raw cookie dough out of the tube, hitting on the toothless bagger at the commissary, and ordering jewelry off the TV. And that was just my first day!” 

I think Mollie is right, there is nothing you can do about the situations thrown at you so why not laugh? We certainly have plenty of crazy adventures to entertain ourselves with. 

So as I skip through the next three months I will try my best to find the humor in every "fun" situation that graces my presence. In the meantime, I will enjoy our weekly phone calls (have you ever had the pleasure of a weekly phone call from your husband in a war zone? It is surprisingly UN-interesting, we actually get tired of talking because it's the same story every time, I feel for Colin, it's pretty boring out there!) and daily e-mails. When the big group of guys get home, I'm going to put my big girl panties on, go to the airport to greet them with a big smile on my face. Because I know the love of my life is not far behind, doing his job. And, for that matter; doing pretty a pretty kick butt job if I do say so myself.


  1. BOOOOO :( i'll be here for you. we can zumba and go walking in the evenings and i'll spend lots of weekend time entertaining you!!

  2. That really sucks!!! I'm not a military wife so I don't have any words of wisdom but I will say that getting to know you through blogging over the past year has been so much fun and you are such a strong person and such an inspiration as a wife. You do so much with your church and the Navy organizations that the time will fly by one more time and before you know it Colin will be home. Can't wait to read that blog!!! I have always admired military wifes for the huge sacrifice that you all make so that your husbands can be out there protecting us. Keep up the good work Navy Wife :)!

    P.S. I totally LOL-ed when I read that excerpt from the book :)

  3. We have a lot of night flights lately...if you don't mind dinner with a mom and her four kiddos...then we will have to make it happen. Hoping that you are enjoying your time in the states. See you soon!