What deployment is really like. And what it’s really not like.
It’s not all staring off into the horizon in a floaty white dress with a single tear rolling down a polished cheek.
It’s not about getting a long awaited dog eared letter in the post, hugging it to your chest in quiet bliss and rushing up to your room to flop down onto the bed to read it in matching pyjamas.
It’s not beaming ear to ear with pride whilst waving a Union Jack (well homecoming is but that’s only a couple of hours out of the whole thing).
It’s not romantic. It’s not magical.
It’s cereal for dinner.
It’s explaining again and again and again where they are and why they couldn’t make it.
It’s wine. Or gin.
It’s weddings and BBQs and Friday nights and Tuesday lunchtimes alone.
It’s having to take both kids with you to your smear test because there’s no one else to help.
It’s suffering the same questions at every family gathering.
“Where is he now then?”
“Heard from Popeye lately?”
“It can’t be much longer now surely?”
It’s making coffee for one every morning.
It’s being ill and having to carry on.
It’s dutifully sending one email (at least) a day and hearing nothing back for days.
It’s learning to carry the ache of missing them around with you and realising that it won’t go away until you’re back together again.
It’s checking your email a zillion times a day just incase, and keeping your phone within arms reach for months without fail.
Deployments are not what people think they are. They are marathons not sprints and we are running in a race we’d rather not have to enter.
But we get to cross that finish line eventually and that part of the illusion is true. That moment is indescribably scrummy and romantic and fantastic.
So even if well meaning family and friends don’t have a clue of the reality of a deployment, or even if this is your first deployment and you’ve realised you didn’t have a clue, just trust me, even if the race is a steaming pile of groundhog poop, that finish line will be so worth it.
Must dash, got me some sea starin’ to do.