Five little words men hate to hear: Honey, we need to talk. Five little words military spouses hate to hear: Let’s talk about the schedule.
Ugh. The schedule. Let’s talk about the ship’s schedule. Let’s talk about how many days you are going to be gone before the deployment. Let’s count up how many weekends we have left. Let’s sit down draw lines through the weeks and months I’ll be without you. I hate the schedule talk.
I could be alone in this. I know there are plenty of military spouses out there with their color-coordinated calendars who love the schedule. The minute they have a schedule they can plan and plan and plan to their heart’s content.
Then again, the minute they have anything written down, the military tends to change the schedule. So that’s a little treat Karma has stored up for those plannergirls and their marker pens.
Whether you hate the schedule or love the schedule, the truth is that the moment the pre-deployment schedule is revealed, the clock starts. Deployment is no longer one of those things that will happen someday, hopefully to someone else. The moment it hits the calendar in all its glory, deployment is something that will happen to you. And if you have done deployment before, you get the superfun thought Again? Again? We have to do this again?
No wonder the schedule talk is enough to make you put your head on the table and sigh right to the depths of your liver.
That’s why I think the schedule talk is one of the crucial moments of pre-deployment. I think that this is the moment where it is really easy (and, uh, normal) to slip into a scarcity mentality. All the sudden, time is finite. There are only so many days left together. There will not be enough.
So after the schedule talk, after you lift your head up off the table (which, I think is part of the process), that’s when you gotta make yourself look past the days when the deployment will start. You have to skip over the months of deployment. You have to turn the calendar page to 2014, 2015, 2016. Even if you are facing a combat deployment, you have to make yourself see that there is time–plenty of time– in front of you and the deployment is a drop in the bucket.
Because when you are married to the military, the schedule talk isn’t meant to remind you of a one-year schedule. Instead it is meant to remind you that you and your military member have a 50 year schedule, a 60 year schedule, a schedule in which you will be 115 years old and still collecting benefits. Go ahead and schedule the days and weeks of pre-deployment now. Know that the months apart will make your years together infinitely more precious.