Saturday, February 19, 2011

Deployment Gremlins: Part 1

"Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong."

I am sure that all of us are familiar with Mr. Murphy and his predictive laws.  We would probably even add a qualifying line to the end to say, "at the worst possible time."  As military family members, we are only too familiar with the affects of the law, and we seem to have a  common name for the "enforcers" of that law, known across the branches as "deployment gremlins."

Every military spouse has their stories to tell about their experiences with the gremlins.  These gremlins are those things that tend to go wrong as soon as their spouse steps on the plane or ship, headed away for any period of time.  I am going to start with one of my stories, and I'd love to hear your similar stories.

My husband's first duty station and deployment was on board a mine-sweeper, which is a tiny ship, and the community of spouses is even smaller.  Prior to that deployment, Jason volunteered me to be the Ombudsman**for the ship, which meant that I had to go through a training, and then be available for the other family members throughout the four-month deployment.  At this point in time, I was about 8 months pregnant, due one week before the ship deployed, with my fifth child.  The CO's wife and I successfully finished the training, and had a meeting for all the wives, which was exactly one week before the scheduled deployment date.  

I ended up going into labor that evening, during the meeting, and had my beautiful little girl sometime around midnight.

Fast-forward one week.

The ship actually left on schedule, and I was one week postpartum, with five children.  I had to be on the dock with the other spouses, which ended up being a miserable three hours with my newborn, a 2-year-old, a 4-year-old, a 6-year-old, and an 8-year-old, and with nowhere to sit.

When I finally got to go home (one WEEK postpartum - still not supposed to be driving, but what is a military wife 19 hours away from family supposed to do?!?), I was not feeling good, and was bleeding profusely. I called my midwife (I had a home birth with her in attendance), and after threatening me with a ride to the hospital, she extracted a promise from me to go to bed.  Then she called one of my neighbors that she knew, and sent her over to make sure I was actually IN bed and stayed there. 

What happened over the next few weeks was an amazing picture of God's people pulling together to help me in my time of need.  I cannot tell you who organized it all, or even the names of all of the people who participated in helping us.  I DO remember 6 weeks of meals, my house being cleaned, my older 4 children being taken on outings to the Aquarium, and on play dates with other friends from church.  I was ministered to in a way that I will NEVER forget. 

So, what started out as a VERY difficult situation turned into an opportunity and a blessing.  Those gremlins are nasty little guys, but God used them in amazing ways in our lives that summer. 

And now I would LOVE to hear some of your Deployment Gremlin stories!!

**om·buds·man (from
1.a government official who hears and investigates complaints by private citizens against other officials or government agencies.
2.a person who investigates and attempts to resolve complaints and problems, as between employees and an employer or between students and a university.

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