But I will try to put a few notes out there for everyone...just in case something might speak to someone else. So, here goes...
Let me start by saying that some days Scott and I think of his job like it's any other. In many families, military and civilian, somebody goes to work and somebody stays home. The worker bee may be gone long hours, may miss meals, might even travel for work. And the one who stays home is often left shouldering the roles of both parents, living a single married life for a time. Sometimes we don't feel all that different.
But those days are not these days.
For the past month or so Scott's been carrying a ton of stress from work and there's little I can do about it. Not only that but there's little time together to try to do anything to alleviate his stress anyway. But what I can do, I do.
- I feed him. He's not home for most meals, but the ones he is here for I make sure are things he loves. I also bake to give him something sweet to lose himself in when he comes through our door.
- I adjust our schedule to his, when possible. When he was working nights we schooled at a different time of day so that we were all downstairs, out of ear shot, when he was going to sleep and we weren't busy when he was getting up and free for five minutes. And now that he's working at least 16 hours a day, I am almost always up when he gets home. That means I frequently nap when Tyler does, but there's nothing wrong with that.
- I listen. I don't know everything he's dealing with. I don't understand everything he tells me. But I give him room to talk to me.
- I talk to him. I try to share stories of the kids. I let him know what we're doing. I don't pretend that we're not still going about our lives.
- I touch him. I give him massages. I kiss him. I try to take some of that stress and provide a little relaxation.
- I give him a break. I don't call and ask when he's going to be home. I don't get upset that he's not home for dinner, or bed time. I don't complain that he doesn't have time for us.
- I love him.
Lastly, we give ourselves permission to feel all the emotions that go with the deployment cycle and we don't blame each other for them. (Here's another link with a little more detail.)
You might be wondering if it's that simple. Probably not, but maybe yes. After all, neither of us have energy for drama, complication, or added stress. And our default is simple: just keep kissing.