So, my husband has been away on a training det for about a week, and I haven’t been saying too much about it online. I have, however, started a project I’ve had tumbling around in my head for a while: each day that my husband is away for whatever reason — whether it’s for a couple days, a couple weeks, or a much longer separation — I am writing in a paper journal. I haven’t missed a day yet this go ’round, and I like to think I will be able to keep it up throughout this stint apart and on into future dets (some of which will be deployment length, but the COD community is detachment-based rather than having the entire squadron gone at the same time).
There are advantages to having a private place to blather on about my day. For one thing, I don’t have to be as concerned about OPSEC no-nos like departure dates and countdowns to coming home. For another, I can write about searingly mundane things like what I had for lunch or who woke me up in the middle of the night with a text message without worrying that I’m boring you, dear Reader, to tears. (Bonus: it’s a really pretty little book, too, and I’m enough of a stationery dork to get a real thrill out of scribbling in it.) Of course, I don’t get any sort of sense of community, no give-and-take, no conversation about my personal musings when they are ink-on-paper and thus entrenched firmly in the offline world. I need both my writing outlets. Therefore, the following is a snapshot of what is going on in my head these days.
This is the first time in well over a year that my husband has been gone for longer than overnight watch, and I worried that I would find myself off-kilter and out of practice. After all, I have been blessed to have him by my side nearly 24/7 for far, far longer than we ever thought possible in the Navy. Of course, the main reason for this surfeit of togetherness was the significant back-up in the C-2 pipeline that was keeping my husband out of the cockpit for a distressingly extended period. We tried to make the most out of all that time together — time which we are all too aware that other military couples would practically kill to have — but we never had a clue whether he would start the syllabus proper the next day or months hence. We still couldn’t make any big plans for all that “time off” with such a Sword of Damocles hanging over our heads.
Now that he is definitely, assuredly, without a doubt in the class that is next in line for CQ (Carrier Qualification, or proving that you can land your airplane on that damn Boat scooting around in the middle of the ocean), I think we both feel much better. We’re well aware that, as with all things Navy, anything could happen to throw a monkey wrench in The Plan, but things are rolling and there’s a light at the end of the FRS tunnel. He is actually getting to fly on a regular enough basis to see improvement with every event, and he is gaining confidence every day in the aircraft. I love hearing the excitement in his voice when we talk on the phone. I can’t wait until I get to see the smile on his face when he strides back into the house — sweaty, smelling of NOMEX and old airplane, and sporting some serious helmet head — after a good flight. It is as if after a year and a half in hurry-up-and-wait limbo, he remembers who he is and why he has those Wings of Gold on his chest.
Getting readjusted to my husband having a busy schedule and going away isn’t mega-fun, but neither has it been unbearable. I guess coping with long distance is like riding a bicycle; when you’ve done it before, you can do it again. Of course, it helps knowing that he’ll be back before too much longer, and I do appreciate being able to get my hand back in on an easy, short det like this one. There are a few more of this stripe coming up over the next few months, and beyond that, we’ll find out whether we’re staying where we are or PCSing someplace entirely new for the first fleet squadron. Then we’ll have to be ready for the big leagues whenever that first “real” six month (or more) det pops up.
Betcha we can handle it.