How Military Families Deal With Separation During The Holidays

The holidays have always been my favorite time of year. From the beautiful lights to the priceless family gatherings, I turn into one of those giddy people that truly sees the “magic” in all of it. My husband and I have always shared this love for the whole season, so with 6,000 miles separating us, we knew this year would be particularly hard. Many military families face the same situation, and the holidays can serve as a heart wrenching reminder of the things that their loved one will miss.

Like many military families, we have dealt with multiple separations during this time of year. It wasn’t always for something as lengthy as a deployment, but no matter the distance or the reason, it was hard. Families going through a separation face a unique set of challenges any time of year. But throw in some cropped Christmas cards and a few, “When are they coming home?” questions, and it can turn us all into Scrooge.

Sometimes we seclude ourselves

It’s hard to see all the together-ness when the one person you want to be with is so far away. For some, this is when we take a step back and we may be drawn into the loneliness. And it might not make sense to those who don’t feel it, because we’re surrounded by all of these people that love us. We want to embrace the joy of the season, but a piece of us is missing. Be patient, and love us even when we act unlovable.

Sometimes we’re angry

I’ve felt a lot of things over the last few months, all the way from pride and happiness to extreme anger and frustration. Sometimes it’s smooth sailing and other times it’s a roller coaster with no seat belt. The holidays are an emotional time as it is, so it’s completely normal for those emotions to be heightened by the chaos, or lack thereof. It’s normal to want to lash out or be angry at the world for a day. You can allow yourself some time to freak out. But the key is to know when to get back up, dust yourself off, pour some wine (or whiskey) and move on from it.

Sometimes we avoid all the feels

This is 100% me this season. Rather than feeling too emotional or pretending to be overly happy, I think I was somewhat numb to it all. Maybe it was too hard to feel anything, or maybe I was overwhelmed and I just shut down. Either way, it’s normal to want to shut it out for a little while. We’re mentally and often physically exhausted from filling all of the roles in our home and personal life. This is the time of year that I heard the most, “I don’t know how you do it” comments, and while that may seem like a compliment or that I should be flattered that you think I’m some kind of superhero, I could do without.

So, whether you’re the one going through this separation or it’s another family down the street, be kind to each other. Be patient and willing to embrace the fact that “this too shall pass”. Let yourself feel all the feelings, good and bad, or take a day to shut it all out. No matter how you choose to approach it (even on days when it truly gets the best of you) it’s not defeating you.

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7 Month Check-In

This check-in is coming a bit late due to Thanksgiving last week, and all the Black Friday craziness. BUT, It’s official: we’ve entered the holiday season! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Part of me is really excited because I absolutely love this time of year. But another part of me is somewhat solemn knowing that my favorite part of the holidays is sharing in the fun activities with my husband.

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5 Month Check-In

This week officially marks five months since we started this crazy journey. It also marks the change into Fall; another season that I’ll miss sharing with my husband. But I have to admit, it’s exciting to see another season come and go, knowing that we’re only that much closer to homecoming. Continue reading “5 Month Check-In”

To The Military Spouse Waving Goodbye For The First Time

I know, we don’t truly wave “Goodbye”. It’s more of “I’ll see you later.” Except we don’t know when later really is. You don’t know any of the details, atleast not the ones you want to know about. Continue reading “To The Military Spouse Waving Goodbye For The First Time”

4 Month Check-In

Another month has come and gone, and it was one of the hardest but most productive ones so far. We’re officially 1/3 of the way through this, and I can’t believe that summer is almost over! The mornings and nights are getting cooler here, and after the horrible humidity, I’m embracing it. I’m almost ready for the hot cider, flannels, and trips to the fair. Almost. Continue reading “4 Month Check-In”

The Worst Advice I’ve Received About Deployment

It was hour 2 of sitting in the classroom, surrounded by other military spouses, and it was safe to say I was a bit lost. Looking around the room, I could see the same desperate expression on everyone’s face. We had just been given a fire hose of information, and I was now lugging around a tote bag of packets and folders that were supposed to tell me how to transition into this next year. “How to deal with deployment”. The information was practical, helpful in some cases, and rather obvious in others. But nonetheless, I clung to it like the last life raft on a sinking ship. Continue reading “The Worst Advice I’ve Received About Deployment”

The 5 Key Predeployment Conversations

The first true separation that Kyle and I ever had was in 2013 for his initial military training. He swore in at the beginning of April, and we knew right away that he would be leaving in July. At the time, we were still just dating and had been together for about 2 years, but we hadn’t moved in together yet. As July got closer, we spent those last days on the beach or eating at some of his favorite places, trying to avoid the thought of what was ahead. Continue reading “The 5 Key Predeployment Conversations”

3 Month Check-In

This weekend officially marks 3 months since Kyle deployed, and this month flew by. I’ve always thought that as soon as we hit July 4th, the rest of the summer just escapes me. I can’t believe we’re ¼ way through this! The next few months are already filled with some great plans, and it feels like it’ll be fall before we know it. Continue reading “3 Month Check-In”

2 Month Check-In

Hello lovelies and happy Wednesday! I must say, I was pretty thrilled that we had a holiday last week because it really made the week go by faster for me. I spent the holiday with family and friends, and I returned to work feeling much more refreshed knowing how close we were to the weekend.

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