Tuesday, September 04, 2012

TDT #4 - Call Me Maybe?

One of the ways I have always done my countdowns when my  husband is away is by counting trash days.  Most of the time it isn't as daunting a number as the estimated number of days he'll be gone.  And it helps me remember to put the trash out, or rather encourage my boys to put the trash out since it's their job.  So this will be my new weekly post, and I'll just really post whatever, no real set theme.  Please feel free to join me on this adventure of counting down the time until your loved one comes home!
I'm sure we have all heard the song "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen or seen some video made to the song (my favorite is still the US Soldiers version).  As I thought about what I wanted to write this week, that line came into my head.  Communication is so important in life, and in today's society such a lifeline for us.  We literally have communication at our very fingertips.  During early deployments/separations, we had communication at our fingertips...in the way of using a pen and writing on paper.  Times are so different now.  When Kevin was preparing to leave we tried to figure out how we were going to communicate.  Would he get internet?  Would he buy a Korean phone?  Would he take his phone and could we get a reasonable international plan?  Would he utilize the library or just take a bit of time and email from work during lunch breaks?  Would we just rely on phone cards (you still remember what those are, right?).  What would we do!  There were so many options it was almost overwhelming.

Along with talking about how we would communicate, we tried to set realistic expectations for how often.  I talk to a lot of Military Spouses and with technology being so wonderful and blessing us with instant access, we get spoiled.  I recently had a conversation with a spouse who told me that her and her husband talk multiple times a day while he is in Afghanistan and it bothered her that she didn't enjoy it.  She felt like they didn't have much to talk about because they spoke too often.  Is too much communication a bad thing?  Well I think you have to figure that out for yourselves.  I can honestly say that Kevin and I have never been so lucky to talk every single day.  And to be honest, I'm glad.  I don't need to talk to him daily, in fact it would overwhelm me.  I already try hard to remember the things to share with him that I feel are significant, I don't know if I could handle the pressure of feeling like I needed to give him something every single time he called.

Don't get me wrong, I want to hear his voice, I want to "chat" with him and I especially want to see him via Skype just as much as the next spouse.  But if you feel like it's too much multiple times a day or even daily, that's okay too.  There is such a thing as too much of a good thing for some people.  You have to communicate about communication and build realistic expectations for yourselves.

Currently Kevin is 14 hours ahead of us.  During the work week and school week that time difference makes it challenging for us to link up.  The boys have activities going on and they are getting up early and I'm getting up with them.  The first couple weeks he was gone, I was staying up way past midnight to talk to him and suffering the next day.  He never wants that for me.  And on the same note, we agreed early on in our marriage that he would not sacrifice sleep or food to communicate with me.  That's what works for us.  I need to know first and foremost that he is healthy and safe.  Korea is obviously different than a deployment to the Middle East so take into consideration the different places, time difference and what will work for your families.  There are times Kevin stays up a little later so he can talk to the boys.  There are times I get the boys up a little earlier so they can hear their dad's voice.  There is sacrifice that does need to be made, you have to figure out exactly what that means for your family.

Keep in mind that healthy communication doesn't just mean a phone call.  Tangible reminders are great too.  We use G.I. Stanley as a form of communication.  We know what dad is doing by the pictures he takes and emails or posts to his Facebook.  I am teaching my boys the art of snail mail.  I mean who doesn't love getting mail that isn't a bill or junk?  It doesn't have to be lengthy.  Find a quote you like and write quickly what stood out to you about it.  Have your kids draw pictures or draw a picture yourself.  Take a picture and print it.  Sure you can email, text or post it on Facebook but I know my husband likes to hang the pictures on his wall.  Remember, tangible reminders.  Send programs from games with a snapshot of a football play.  Copy a music program with a picture of your child and their instrument or singing.

There are so many ideas out there but overall find something that works for your family and remember to build realistic expectations.  Nothing is worse than being disappointed in each other when you're thousands of miles apart and not sure when you'll get to talk next.  Prepare yourself for silence and embrace when you hear the voice of your loved one on the other end of the phone line or computer.

This is the second time that we have seen Kevin since he left.  We were grateful this night to be able to do our evening family prayer "together".

1 comment:

Jen said...

Snail mail is the best! While I loved being able to see my husbands face and see his voice I loved the letters. :)