Two Is Definitely Not Lonely


I did three deployments before my husband and I had kids, and the most recent two deployments were while I was a stay-at-home wife. One was indeed the loneliest number. I missed my husband so much. When he was deployed to a safe locale with easy access to communication, I sat eagerly by the computer just waiting for him to pop up. When he didn’t have access to email or webcams, I wrote him handwritten letters and begged him to do the same for me. My life was consumed by his absence.

But once you add one more to the mix, everything changes.

Two is definitely not lonely.

Now, two is many things: exhausting, maddening, repetitive…but it’s definitely not lonely. Oh what I’d give to feel lonely again, instead of being clung to for twelve hours a day by a whining, nonsense-jabbering critter.

And I’ve discovered that I don’t really have time to miss my husband.

Granted, TDY is quite different from deployment, and we do get to see him most weekends. I am sure that makes a difference. But I no longer feel all-consumed by his absence. I rarely think about it, except when our daughter is being especially whiny before bedtime and I’d give anything to have someone to share the joy.

And the webcam? The webcam is now used exclusively for “Daddy, please entertain Baby via computer to help me kill 20 minutes of time before she goes to bed. Because I am all out of ideas and patience.”

Once she’s in bed, I have alone time. Precious alone time. A mere three hours a day, instead of the entire day like I used to have during deployments. And most nights the last thing I want to do is sit and IM. I love my husband. I miss him. But I’d rather be alone with my hobbies and my mindless action movies than online.

All of a sudden, I think I get how my husband felt on deployment. Here I sat all day long just waiting for him to show up online. I could do my hobbies or clean the house or watch a CSI marathon all day, and be all filled up on me-time before it came time to IM with him. Meanwhile, he was working and hot and tired, and I am sure there were days when he just felt like being alone with a book or movie. He probably didn’t always want to talk to me. And I’m sure that he didn’t think it was a big deal to run grab a cheeseburger instead of IMing me, especially since it was midnight for him. If you need a cheeseburger at midnight, you’ve probably had a long day.

I feel bad now because I realize our lives were far more lopsided than I ever gave him credit for, and I wanted him to put me ahead of his me-time, even though I never had to do that.

I knew doing a geographical separation once we had a kid would be different, and I expected it to be harder. It is. But in some ways it’s emotionally easier. Life isn’t all about me anymore, and what I want, and how much I miss my husband, and when I want to talk to him, and how mad I was that he got that cheeseburger instead of putting me first. It seems almost silly to me now.

I totally don’t blame him for wanting a minute of peace and quiet while he went to get that burger anymore. Because now I’m exactly the same. Except “off duty” means the child is asleep. And “cheeseburger” means bourbon.

Photo from US Army Photostream

About the Author

Sarah has been married to her soldier for a bit more than 10 years. In the past decade, they've been at six different duty stations in four different branches of the Army. They've also endured three deployments, six miscarriages, and a failed IVF. Sarah's blogging focus has shifted some in the past five years, from common military issues to something more personal: the difficult intersection between the military and infertility. It's hard for some couples to start a family; it's even harder when one person spends a lot of time on the other side of the globe. But Sarah was lucky enough to declare Mission Accomplished when their daughter was born 10 days after her husband's return from Afghanistan. And she tries to remind herself how irreplaceable and cherished that daughter is now that she's entered the terrible two's. In her free time, Sarah is a pioneer housewife: knitting, crocheting, and cooking ... and sometimes even firing a weapon.

15 Comments on "Two Is Definitely Not Lonely"

  1. Boy do I know this is true. While having a five-week-old when my husband deployed was not ideal — it kind of was. I knew how lonely and bored I would be without him to keep me company during the day, show off to my friends, etc. And there was still plenty of alone time because boy did he sleep a lot.

    But having an infant at that stage is more like having a puppy than a child. Yes, he required lots of care and love, but the ammount of attention he took up while sitting on the floor drooling was minimal…. especially compared to the all consuming task of having a toddler. And so now, with this TDY/school thing we're doing right now — I am in the EXACT same boat as you (minus the seeing him every weekend thing). I have NO time to miss my husband, really, other than when I'm tired and desperatly want to talk to someone who uses full sentances and does not cry when cherrios spill at the pool.

  2. "And 'cheeseburger' means bourbon."

    You're a woman after my own heart. ;-D

  3. Sooo true.

  4. Retired Navy Wife | June 7, 2011 at 11:34 am |

    I a retired military wife now, but I totally remember those deployment days. We didn't have all the electronic equipment then (1960's), but depended on letters and recorded tapes so we could hear each others voice. ~Tricia

  5. KateKashman | June 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm |

    "And 'cheeseburger' means bourbon."

    Funniest thing I have heard all day. Or week. Possibly even month.

  6. I read this and I thought, wow a bit selfish. True we don't always have a choice when deployments come and separation IS A PART of the military family experience, where the MISSION takes priority over families, sometimes even over life itself. There are a lot of Military divorces and broken families, but as my basic training instructor said, if they wanted you to have a family, they would have issued one.

    Yes there are hardships at home and deployed, and deployments are coming much more often, and even for those who are activated from Civilian life and sent to serve again. Being a part of the Military Community is not like living in the suburbs with a 9-5 job and a regular salary or pay check. It often seems that we always have LESS than we bargained for. And that those not in our position begrudge us the little considerations we get, so those are often reduced and we are expected to cope with less again.

    • SemperSteen | June 7, 2011 at 6:49 pm |

      Did you actually read the article?

    • If we never admitted any selfish thoughts, then we'd certainly be lying. Writing honestly about our successes and our faults is what makes us have this great community at SpouseBUZZ.

    • Well then I guess you'd have to count me selfish, but 3 kids down and one on the way. Give me a pizza and mindless movie after the kids are in bed any day. I totally understood what she was saying. My day starts when the first kid wakes up and doesn't always end with bed time. There are nightmares and wet beds, fevers and coughs. Sometimes I need a time out and don't think about my hubby who is gone when it's quiet.

  7. I take my hat off to you.

  8. I had almost no problems with sea duty. I'll admit there were times when I did really miss him more so when I went to bed at night and there was no one to chit chat with. But otherwise I had a routine and ended up doing school, reading books, going to the gym, going to garage sales, redoing furniture. I decided very early on to take advantage of the selfish me time I had available because one day I probably wont' have it anymore and I don't want to say to myself 'well, you should have taken advantage of it when you had it'…

  9. I too had a few one-person dance parties :)

  10. Any — I know, I am sure that there are perks to both. It would be nice to have three days on as a parent and then three days off to myself! :)

  11. I'm right there with you. I'd give anything to have a little one rather than having just me, myself, and I.

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