May 11, 2008

Another life lesson ...

Deployments are hard … for everyone involved. Things change, friends you used to hang out with as a couple now seem awkward when you become a “third wheel.” You deepen some friendships, drift away from others and build new ones.

For both the Soldiers and spouses your needs for companionship change. Some people become more dependent on those around them, while others become more independent.

In previous deployments I have always been the one that others came to for support. It was a role I appreciated because as long as I was taking care of others, I didn’t have to remember that I too was dealing with the separation. If I fixed other people’s problems, then I could avoid mine. It worked … until this deployment.
More so than the fact that I am learning to lean on my friends for strength, is finding them in the most unlikely places.

Now that I work with the Soldiers on a daily basis, I’ve come to regard many of them as friends. The same goes for the spouses in our deployed unit. On one hand, it’s is easier to be friends with spouses in the same unit because you are going through the same things, other times having friends who understand what you are going though because they have been there, but can offer you the support you need because they are in a place to provide that can make it easier as well. This is a lesson I have learned only recently though my work with the military police.

While I still maintain friendships with the spouses in my husband’s unit, sometimes it feels like a competition when you start talking about how often you talk to your Soldier and how many emails you get, etc. I’m kind of enjoying the fact that I can vent or brag without someone “outdoing” my stories.

I’m the first to say that I live the life of a clown … always trying to make others happy but never showing my own tears. ,I love to help others enjoy the little moments, temporarily forgetting the bad. But I rarely let people see the real me … hear my darkest secrets, see the silly, uninhibited me. I don’t let people see me with my guard down. I’ve seen many temporary friendships, close while they are here, but fall apart after they move. To avoid the pain, I only show them parts of me and until lately that was o.k.

But in the last few months, I’ve met two people who are breaking through that shell … I don’t know if that is good or bad or if it just plain scares the mess out of me!

One is a fellow spouse … she very much reminds me of myself seven years ago. New to the military, learning to stand on my own and the heart of a small town country girl … everything new and exciting. I see the world in a new way. Through her ups and downs, I find more about who I am and what I stand for.

The other is a Soldier … I think this one scares me the most. Our friendship is at best, indescribable. There is no mold or characterization to contain it, it evolves as time goes on. There are things about her that are like looking at myself in a mirror, we have so many of the same interests, finish each others sentences and can laugh at everything and nothing. She is genuinely interested in how George is doing and how I am with this deployment as I am in her significant other and the distance and difficulties they face because of military. Our friendship grows over culinary creations and quick emails. But there are things about her that I strive to one day see in myself …her loyalty, adaptability, drive to overcome and confidence are inspirational.

In each deployment I open myself to learn more about myself and life. It is an opportunity to test myself, grow as a person and grow in my search for independence and self improvement. If I learn nothing more, I am learning that by taking a risk, you may find a treasure that can change your life, one that cannot be measured, and one that cannot be replaced. I have found that I am discovering myself in discovering others. I’ll just have to sit back, enjoy the ride and see where this one takes me … they could be a moment in time or that one great friendship of a lifetime.

Until our next cup of tea …

1 Tea Party Guest:

lime said...

the great thing is you seek to grow as a person. when you have that kind of attitude i believe there are so many opportunities to do so. thanks for being willing to let some of that guard down and share what's going on in your heart and in your mind.