Enjoy Life Even When a Loved One Is Deployed

A military mom realizes that her moping is affecting the whole family.

Posted in , May 17, 2018

Family walking on the beach

There was a time when I was guilty of wishing away my life.

It came to a head during our oldest son’s second deployment. School had just ended for our two boys, and we sat around the dinner table discussing the summer ahead. My husband voiced the idea of spending a week at the beach. This suggestion was met with whoops of joy from the two other boys and a glare from me.

“What?” He looked shocked at my reaction. 

“We’re not all here this summer.” I kept my voice low, but inwardly I was seething. How dare he suggest a family vacation—even just a week at the beach—that didn’t include our oldest son? “Why don’t we wait until the fall when we’re all back together and can go as a family?” 

“We can’t go this fall,” he pointed to the now silent boys. “They’ll be in school. We can plan a weekend trip then, but let’s go take advantage of the time while we have it.” It was his turn to shoot me a look full of meaning.

I glanced at the other two at the table, a little surprised that neither of them had voiced an opinion. The expressions on their faces told the tale. They definitely wanted to go, but by bringing up our oldest son’s absence, I’d made it impossible for them to say anything. They loved their brother dearly and wouldn’t push this trip if there was any chance it would hurt him.

Without meaning too, I was stealing time with them by focusing on the wish to be with our oldest son.

I made an instant decision. “The idea took me off guard. But I think a week at the beach might be exactly what we need.” I smiled at them. “We should enjoy our time together now and then plan something else this fall.”

The happy expressions were back, and we began to plan our trip.

That trip was still hard on me. I had to fight myself not to wish things were different. But I learned a valuable lesson. We need to take advantage of the moments we have now. Nothing is ever perfect, and that’s never a reason to wish away the life we have right now.

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