I have a special group of friends. I’ve written about them time and time again, probably because they are so dear to my heart. They are my fellow Navy wives. Today, though, I’m thinking of a particular set of women in this group… the spouses of my husband’s previous squadron. You see, these good friends of mine are squeaking out the last few hours before they have to send their husbands off on a looooooong deployment aboard the USS Carl Vinson. Bleh. It’s more than “Bleh.” It’s all capital lettered: BLEH…. times 10,000. It’s even worse than that but I don’t think there are words to sufficiently encompass the suckiness of it. So I will have to leave it at “BLEH.”
The thing is, I know these women. While my heart aches for them and my stomach ties into knots for them, I know, without a shadow of doubt, that they are going to be okay. They will make it through the send off moment. They will make it through the walking into their home whose walls will not house their husband for the next several months. They will make it through the waking up the next morning and knowing theirs is the only coffee cup that will be used that morning. They will make it through hugging their kids when they miss their daddy already. They will make it through because they are strong and fierce. They are loyal and loving. They are, perhaps above all, resilient.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “resilient” as:
: able to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens
: able to return to an original shape after being pulled, stretched, pressed, bent, etc.
I know that during the coming months my dear friends are going to have moments when they do not feel strong, nor healthy, nor successful. And maybe they actually won’t be any of those things, but that’s okay. They will pick themselves up, shake off their doubts, and find their footing again. They will be pulled and stretched and pressed and bent, but they will find their shape again. Their strength and courage will be stronger for it.
Deployments come with an awful lot of uncertainty… dates change, ports change, email connections change. Many aspects of deployment are fluid and everyone involved needs to be flexible. However, there are a few certainties and those include (but are not limited to) a large appliance/vehicle will break, the dog will get out, the children will vomit in the middle of the night, the nights will feel lonely. Maybe those happen during non-deployment days too, but they are much easier to deal with when your best friend… who is also your appliance fixer and dog catcher and middle-of-the-night-sheet-changer, midnight snuggler… is home. But these Navy spouses will face it all on their own for the next 10 months. They will fix things they didn’t even know they knew how, they will find the dog and fix the fence, they will clean the sheets and find the saltines and nurse their babies back to good health, and they will snuggle with their pillow (a one-armed-pillow-in-a-dress-shirt, if they’re lucky).
Through the months of being pressed and pulled, pushed and bent, they will also laugh hysterically, try new things, cheer their kids through sports games and school performances. They will send funny emails and packages to their husband on the ship. They will celebrate holidays and birthdays. They will go to Ladies Nights Out and play groups. They will eat good food and drink lots of wine. They will do these things because they are amazing. They are strong. And they are oh-so-very-resilient.
To my amazing Sun King spouse friends:
You all are in the thick of the hardest moment of this incredibly long deployment. I’m in awe of your strength and your grace. I wish I could be there for you, although I realize there is little I could do to make these days easier. Know that there are people all over the country, around the world, who are thinking of you and cheering for you. You all have a tough few months ahead, of course, but I know you have lots of exciting things on this crazy path too…. You have a wedding to plan, new schools to explore, a Hawkeye Ball to celebrate, port visits to plan, cruise boxes to get all Pinterest-y. You have a great group of women to lean on and a whole base of families who will take care of you too. You will come through this deployment with flying colors. I know this, because I know you and you are the very definition of resilient.
Sending safe wishes to the squadron and much love to each of you,