Well, it’s here… the day we all dreaded but knew was coming. Radar left this weekend for 7 months in Japan. Goodbye was impossible, as always, but we know we will make it.
This is our second deployment. In some ways, this one is going to be harder than the first. For one thing, it’s a month longer. The kids are older, and I’m outnumbered this time (Monster was only 2 months old when Radar left last time, and 8 months when he returned). This will be our first Christmas apart, too, which I know will be much harder for Radar than for me. We also know what to expect this time – we aren’t going in with blind faith, but rather with the knowledge of how hard some moments are going to be, and just how long half a year is without seeing each other.
But in other ways, this deployment will be easier. Because his squadron transitioned from the P-3 to the P-8, we had an extra 6 months of home cycle (instead of 12 months home, we got 18). The kids may be older and more numerous, but they’re still too young to have any concept of time or to understand how long Daddy is gone. They’re also always on the move, so all 3 of us will stay very busy! We’re also very lucky that in over 5 years in the Navy, this will be our first Christmas apart… and as soon as Radar comes home, we’ll be moving to a new duty station for a shore tour, which means no deployments at all! We know several other military families who have missed more Christmases than they’ve been home for, so I’m grateful that we’re the other way around. And lastly, we know what to expect. I know I put that in the negative column above, but it’s reassuring knowing that we’ve done this before and know we survived.
Radar is super lucky this deployment – he is going back to the same place he was last deployment. So he already knows the lay of the land, what to expect on base, and how the deployment will be. He will have high-speed internet for calling us on the Magic Jack and Skyping, access to a BX and Commissary that are arguably better than what we have here in Jacksonville, and instead of being low man on the totem pole, this time he’s one of the “top dogs” among the junior officers.
I’m incredibly lucky, too – I have the best OSC (officer’s spouse’s club) ever! This group of ladies and gents always has each others’ backs, and I know that no matter what happens to me or anyone else, we will take care of each other through these months. My favorite part of deployment is something we call Secret Foxes: like Secret Santa, you are assigned to another spouse and get to spoil them with gifts every month during deployment (the fox part is because that’s the squadron’s mascot). I will take any excuse to get crafty and creative! It helps pass the time, I hope it brightens someone else’s day, and I know it brightens mine when I get a gift, knowing somebody is thinking of me.
So to kick off this deployment, I’ve made my Secret Fox (who, luckily, does not know about my blog!) a life-size greeting card full of awful puns to make her smile.
I hot-glued the lollipops, wine, and Ziploc bags of candy to a foam board. I didn’t want to wreck the book and Nutella, so I punched holes in the board with Radar’s awl and threaded sewing elastic through the holes, securing it with hot glue on the back. And the Fox Racing vinyl sticker is just taped on, again so I didn’t ruin it. I got a questionnaire with info about my secret fox, so I knew she liked wine, chocolate, and pink is her favorite color. I’ve also seen her wearing Fox Racing gear, so I know it’s a brand she likes. And when I saw that little book at Target, I knew I had to get it!
I’m already trying to think of what to give her in July – I just love giving somebody secret presents! Keep an eye out for more posts with Secret Fox gifts!
(I’ll get back to the quiet book in my next post!)