The Deployment is Over

Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you, it’s true: My husband’s first deployment is o-v-e-r, OVER! It feels good (and really foreign) to say that. He’s actually been out of Afghanistan for a bit now, but because of OPSEC (and all that jazz), I wanted to wait until he was back in Germany before I announced it on here.

A little refresher: my husband’s unit is housed out of Germany, so that’s where the Army considers his home to be. Meaning, that’s where he lived for the few months between Basic Training and deployment, and that’s where he’ll be until he gets leave (aka vacation) next month. After his few weeks of vacation, he goes back to Germany and I stay here in Texas until further notice.

The end of the deployment has me feeling a mix of emotions. Bear with me as I sort ’em all out:

On the one hand, I’m incredibly disappointed that I couldn’t be in Germany to welcome my husband home. (We discussed me going there, but with our upcoming Australian vacation and the fact that there is so much uncertainty about when the soldiers would actually arrive in Germany, we decided it’d be easier to wait.) I think a part of me will always regret that I couldn’t be there. You see all these glorious reunions on tv of soldiers and their families, but what about the single (or geographically single) soldiers that stand by watching with no one in the crowd for them.

I feel overjoyed that Stephen is out of harm’s way and back on American-ish soil. (Do US Army Garrisons count as American soil? I’m going with yes.)

A celebratory margarita, courtesy of my mom.

I’m really, really happy that he can do things like sleep in on the weekends, eat Taco Bell, drink alcohol when he wants to, use a toilet that flushes, and the list goes on.

In a weird way, I’m frustrated on Stephen’s behalf that he is “stuck” in Germany. Dude’s living in the barracks, y’all, and that’s not where he wants to be.

The barracks: two dudes live in this tiny room.

He’s just biding his time until leave. Sure, there are worse places to live (like Afghanistan, for instance), but the barracks are like crappier, smaller versions of dorm rooms. He has to share a room and he and his roommate share a bathroom with another guy. (Stephen was really hoping to get the solo room, not the double.) It sounds like his roommate doesn’t suck (woo-hoo!), but it’s not the same as being home.

I’m relieved that the hard part is over and now we really are in the homestretch. I’m still kind of holding my breath. (I think of the deployment being over as half an exhale.) I won’t fully relax until I can wrap my arms around my soldier, but I’m not longer scared that the knock at the door is a notification officer, I’m no longer wincing when the news starts talking about the war, I’m not longer agonizing over the fact that I haven’t gotten a phone call in x amount of hours and oh-my-god-what-does-that-mean. It’s over.

I’m a little jumbled-up over taking off my deployment pin. (Sad isn’t the right word, but I guess it’s the closest feeling to it.)

I’ve worn that sucker every day of the deployment. (I figured if Stephen doesn’t get a day off, the pin doesn’t get a day off.) I had extras in my purse and in the car. I always kept it right by the door, so I’d remember to put it on before I left the house. I wanted to do something ceremonial with it (burn it, bury it), but instead, I’m going to save it. Chances are, there will be a day in the future when I have to put it back on. I also have a deployment flag. (It was my grandmother’s when my father was deployed in Vietnam.) I’m going to leave the flag up until Stephen comes home. He gets to take it down.

My heart aches for those whose soldiers are still fighting and their families who are waiting. It’s a scary, lonely, roller-coaster-y place to be. You often feel invisible and forgotten. I want my fellow military spouses to know that I see you, and I haven’t forgotten about you. I’m still praying for your soldier’s safe return.

If you were counting, that’s six emotions, and trust me, y’all got the Cliff’s Notes versions. This girl is feeling all the emotions there are. Mostly though, I feel really lucky that my husband is safe, the deployment is over, and I’m so thankful that we’ll be reunited soon.*

43 thoughts on “The Deployment is Over

  1. Great news, Amy! I’m so glad Stephen is out of Afghanistan, safe and sound; I hope you’ll get to see him SOON. 🙂

    • Thanks, Alison! The wait is longer than I’d like, but I did the math, and the number of days until I see him again is about 10% of the number of days it has been since I last saw him. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I keep trying to tell myself that 10% is no big deal.*

  2. I’m so happy for you! I know all about deployments so the news that he’s somewhere safe now is great news. Welcome home-ish! I love the pin too. I always hang a yellow ribbon outside for the length of the deployment. Happy for you both! xx

    • Thanks! At first, I thought wearing the pin would be too ostentatious, but I really grew to love it. It was often an icebreaker as strangers would ask me about it. (And I love talking about my husband, so that was ok by me.) I would have done the ribbon if I had somewhere to hang it. (I live in an apartment, so no outside space.) I just really like the idea of a visual, I guess. Thanks for commenting!*

  3. WOOOO!! I am so, so very happy for you guys! But man, being “home” but not home is such a tease!

    I can’t really find the right words to put together for this comment; if I could, I’d just give you a weirdo-only-know-you-from-blogland hug to say “happy for you, relieved, excited, thank you” and about a billion more things.

  4. Love love love love love love this!!! I can’t wait to see y’all back together!!!! And I selfishly want a big Stephen hug, too! I might not be first in line…. But I’m in line!!!!🙂

  5. Oh sweetheart. What a wonderful post. I teared up at the part where you said Stephen gets to take down the flag. I only had to deal with one deployment with the husband and that was enough. It’s been YEARS since he’s been in the military and yesterday I saw a picture I took of his boat pulling back into Norfolk after being gone so long and I broke down. (Shoot, thinking about it is making me sad now.) I know it’s hard and you’ve been so strong. And don’t worry, your reunion will still be awesome, I know it!!

  6. Amy. Matt and I are so happy for the two of you. Just knowing Stephen is safe is a huge relief. The time will go quickly tor y’all!!

  7. This post brought me to tears more than once. I am so happy he is done and safe and almost home!

  8. WOW!! Great news! Glad to hear Stephen is safe and sound! One of our best friends, her husband was in the Navy but never was really in harm’s way on deployment and due to a dry dock with his sub was never deployed for THAT long, but seeing her pictures reunited with him when he did come back were so sweet. We can only imagine how hard it must be to not have that moment with your solider! I think we have said it before, but we’ll say it again – you are such a strong lady! Glad we’ve reached step 1 of him being back and we look forward to hearing about step 2 – you two reunited!

    • Y’all are so sweet! I don’t feel very strong, but it is nice to hear. Being apart for any length of time, for any reason is hard. The element of danger and uncertainty just make deployment that much worse. I’m so happy to close that chapter.*

  9. Such great news! I’m happy for y’all Amy!!

  10. Hooray for wonderful news!! I will buy you a celebratory margarita as well tonight at dinner! Or whatever you want! News like this deserves to be celebrated over and over!😀

  11. Come on, Germany is not THAT bad😉 (Don’t worry, I am not offended; I get what you mean.)

    YAY! for deployment being over! I am really happy for you. There is Taco Bell in Germany? Must be on base, right? How big is this thing?

    I am really curious how life on a base in a foreign country is. Especially in Germany of course. What do they do, when they’re off duty? Is base like an island in a strange place? The living quarters don’t look very homely.

    • Haha! It is kind of like an island. The entrances are guarded and they check your ID before they let you on post. The post itself looks kind of like a college campus, lots of buildings clumped together yet spread out. The Taco Bell is on post and it’s part of a little food court. (There is also a subway, popeye’s, and one or two other restaurants.) They also have a Burger King which is in its own building, but I don’t like BK. (Yuck!) There’s a PX (post exchange) which is really the only store on post. It’s kind of like a Target or Walmart. Most of the other buildings are barracks or offices.

      When the guys are off duty, they mostly hang out. If it’s the weekend, I think most of them party at nearby bars or travel to Nuremburg or other big cities nearby. I visited last summer for a month, so I’m no expert, but that’s what I know.*

  12. I’m super happy that your soldier is safe, but my heart breaks for you because you still can’t wrap your arms around him! *hugs* Hopefully this part of the journey will be over soon!!!

  13. Oh my gosh!!! I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!!! It’s probably pretty unbelievable for you to look back at the length of time that he was deployed and realize that finally, he’s going to be home before you know it! This calls for HUGE celebration!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Thank you! It feels eerily similar to running a marathon. I think back to all the time that has gone by and I wonder, “how did I do that?”*

  14. Whoo-hoo!! Glad his deployment is over!! Last time I talked to you, you were going to Germany. What happened to you moving over there? Does this mean you will be working in Plano ISD?

    • I’m waiting for more information from the Army before I make any plans. I have no idea of what the timing of the move might be. Since Stephen has been “down range” he couldn’t get any info. Hopefully now that he’s back in country, we’ll know more. At this point, I’m still moving forward with my PISD plans until the Army tells me otherwise.*

  15. Ahhhh so so happy for you!! I can’t imagine not being able to hold him still, but having him finally out of harm’s way and to no longer have that fear hanging over you 25/7 is the greatest gift! My hubby is 5 months in to his 12 month deployment and all I can think about (even more so than R&R, which we’re spending in Australia!) is when he’s finally back for good and I can exhale knowing that he’s safely returned from yet another patriotic vacation (his 3rd!).

    • 3?! Wow! My hats off to you and your husband. 5 months in is no small feat. The end probably still feels really far off, but you’ll get there!*

      • Yeah and his second was 15 months:( poor guy has done enough, in my opinion! Oh and I meant 24/7 not 25, though there are many days I wish we had 25 hours in a day haha.

  16. Yay! I’ve been thinking about you lately because I knew it had to be soon. I’m so happy for you! So sorry you have to wait just a bit longer though. Can’t wait to see pics of you reunited!

  17. Sine my brother joined the Navy last year I’ve gotten a taste of the vagueness of the military. So hard to make plans. Hang in there, it looks like good things are coming!

    • Vagueness is right! They sure like to keep us guessing, make thing complicated, and get me frustrated. The worst is when I don’t know what to expect for the future. I am too type A to be ok with just not knowing.*

  18. This is so exciting! I am so glad that he is safe. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to have to wait to see him. I am really happy for y’all!

  19. Yay! I’m so excited for you, although I can’t imagine having to wait to see him! I’m assuming you can at least talk more consistently now?

    • We can talk more now. He is “reintegrating” but they have the guys do one or two things, and then they are done for the day. Me being on summer vacay means that I am free to talk any time. The only complaint I have (that’s not true, I have many complaints. The only complaint I will make) is that I don’t like the time difference. Germany is 7 hours ahead of us, and that’s just not convenient for me.*

  20. I am so happy for you! Here is to wishing you guys the best of reunions, I will continue to pray for your little family, and hopefully you will be together very soon🙂

  21. This is great news! I’m so happy to hear that he is back and safe in Germany. You and your hubs will be reunited soon –this makes me so happy for you both.

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