Saturday, April 30, 2011

Guest post: Hapa Girl!

Hi Everyone! I'm Sonia aka Hapa Girl! I'm very grateful to be given the chance to guest blog for Kim today! I'm not even sure when and how I started following her, but I know why. Because we're both wives of Submariners and that was good enough for me!

A little background about myself! I am actually an Air Force Brat. I grew up overseas and came back to the great ol' US of A during the summer of my Senior in H.S. (yes, I still have issues...Mr. Clinton)

I met my sailor in October of 1998 and we got married in September of 2000. Soon, after our marriage we had our first child. Moved to Hawaii and had our second child. When we moved to Washington,we had our third! We've weathered through deployments onboard a Boomer/Trident Submarine, Fast Attack Submarine and an unaccompanied tour when he was sent surface side. Currently, we are back on a Submarine.

I actually started blogging after the birth of my third child. She was born with Down syndrome and it was a great outreach for me! Now,as our life is not being guided by everything Down syndrome, I'm blogging more about "stuff" regarding our lives and being a Navy Family.

I hope you enjoy what I have to write about and would love love love to answer any questions or your thoughts! This guest post is really my take on the topic on hand, so please add any advice that you may have as well!

So, today's topic of choice is:

How do you deal with deployment?

What keeps you going?

My answers are specifically geared towards me...since we all have to deal with deployment in our own ways. But, I hope I can help a few ladies (guys) out on the ways you can deal with deployment.

For me, my number one piece of advice would be to make sure you have some sort of network of reliable people surrounding you. This has to be very important! Especially, if you are far away from family and very close friends. During our first deployment (Yes, I say ours because we both are going through this together) I was close to home. I had my friends and family on call, so our seperation wasn't very stressful. Also, I only had one child to nurture and keep me busy.

Our second deployment, we were stationed in Hawaii. Need I say more??? Seriously, though, I was so far away from everyone I knew that I had to make friends fast. I say fast, because he was gone within weeks of our arrival to the island. My network, the people who helped me get through the deployment, were families in my neighborhood and some really awesome wives who's sailors were serving on the same boat as mine. Even, if you dread going to the family support meetings, just go and do it. You never know who you will meet and make a quick connection with. For me, I made some life long friends during this deployment and I was so grateful that I went ahead on got off my butt to go to my first spouses support group! Everyone one in my network helped me through the rough and sad times...especially since, my sailor left me pregnant with baby #2! My network of friends were very important to me when I needed someone whom I was able to trust and watch child #1 when I had to spend a couple of night in the hospital. I also find, that being part of the Submarine family, I know that somehow or another, I will probably see a familiar face at our next duty station. There are only a handful of places we can go! And for me, it has been true. During subsequent deployments and an unaccompanied pcs move, those fabulous wives from Hawaii have been there for me....from Washington State all the way back to Florida!

Another way to get through the deployment is by starting a new/old hobby and to start working out. Every single time we are seperated I took time and worked out. I was motivated to want to look like a hottie every time my sailor came back home to me...pregnant or not! And working out is also a great stress you can look hot and blow off some much pent up steam! I also started crocheting and scrapbooking. It's amazing how much you can get done (even with children around) when your sailor is not there to occupy all your extra time!

So, what is it that keeps me going? That's a toughie. For each and every person, what drives them is very personal. For me, my children are the ones that truly keep me going. The thought of being with my man like it was the first time again really keeps me going! Knowing that I'm gonna be damn hot ( maybe just hot) from all the working out really keeps me going!

I can't imagine falling apart and not being able to keep myself together when our family is seperated during a deployment. I firmly understand that my role as mother and spouse is a core ingredient that keeps this military family together. My children need me to be strong and to be their comforter, as my sailor needs to know that he can come back to a happy family and home that did miss him and is very excited and happy to have him home. BUT, this can only happen if you take care of yourself first. After, playing this role for so many years, I know when I need to keep myself in check. And by check, I mean, talking with a friend, seeking help without feeling ashame, fine tuning your coping mechanism. Because I know, if I crack and crumble, then so will my family. It's not always going to be easy, but I promise you that if you find the one thing that keeps you going, you will get through it.

I know that deployments are different for every branch of the service. There are differences even within the Navy...Surface vs. Sub. On the Sub side, I think our hardest challenge is the lack of communication. We don't get phone calls and emails are scarce. Which, is why I am a firm believer in having a "network" of friends. What are some of the challenges that families may have in other branches of the Military...including Surface ship families in the Navy. I'm just curious.

Thanks for your time! The Hapa Girl!


Poekitten said...

I agree that the lack of communication that comes with a sub deployment is hard. I miss that interaction!