May 13, 2008

The cycle of deployment

This is my favorite part in the deployment cycle. Some people say homecoming is the best, some people love the leave period. This is my favorite part. It's offcrew. For those of you who don't know our sub schedule, it goes something like this....

Refit is where they are gone long long hours and come home cranky and hungry because they were working too hard to make dinner on the mess deck. They are getting the boat ready to go with the help of the other crew, which also means they have to work with people they don't know very well and get through all of the communication issues there. Refit is hard and by the time they actually leave, you are ready for it.

Deployment. That's really hard. Going for days or weeks with no word from them and having to be both mom and dad at home is really hard. Dealing with house, car, family and extended family on your own is hard too. This is the period when you learn how strong you really are, and how much you really appreciate your spouse.

Homecoming is next. You get ready for it, look forward to it and then the date always changes. You get your hopes up and then they are dashed. When they do come home you are excited, thrilled and relieved. It's a good feeling. Then you have to readjust to not making all of the decisions on your own, showing them over where things go again because you have re-arranged the living room or kitchen. The kids also have to get used to them again and for some reason quit listening to you all together. It's the oddest thing. Like you are suddenly speaking another language. You are grateful they are home safely and life is good.

After they have been home a little while and done turnover, they get to go on leave. For the first few days, it's bliss. Having them home and with you 24/7. And then, after about a week, you are wondering when they are going back to work. Not to sea, just to work. Having someone ask you where, when, who and what after you have been on your own is a little straining at times. On the other hand, being together is good.

Off-crew is my favorite part of the deployment cycle. It's when they go back to work in the office, not the boat. They leave in the morning, do work and training and come home in the early afternoon if you are lucky and you have the entire rest of the day together. They are able to get things done around the house, and so are you. At my house, we fall into a routine that's easy and light hearted. No one is too stressed or cranky. The kids are happy, you are happy and hopefully they are happy too. Off-crew rocks. You know it won't last forever, Refit is right around the corner, so you savor every day.

That's the life of a submariner family.

At least our life...

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