My husband was gone for the better part of a week.  Then he came home for 48 hours before departing on his next trip.  He came home again for a frenzied 8 hours before saying another good-bye.  When he returns from this one, he’ll have a couple of weeks at home before heading out yet again.  And when he returns from that, well, the pattern will repeat itself.

I have to say, these short bursts of hellos and good-byes get on my every last nerve.

Lengthy deployments suck for so many obvious reasons, but they have the advantage of providing a certain degree of predictability.  You know your husband isn’t coming home for a long time.  You can establish a daddy-less routine with your kids.  You can live your life on your own schedule.  You only have to say good-bye once.  The separation is handed to you in one lump sum, and although it’s never fun, at least you can create your own sense of normalcy.

The small installments of separations are different.  They’re disruptive.  You can’t establish a routine because your schedule revolves around his.  Just when you’ve adjusted to your husband being gone, knock knock, he’s home again and dumping his dirty laundry on your floor.  And it needs to be washed NOW.  Because he has to repack those uniforms in the next 24 hours. 

You’re so excited to spend a weekend with your husband, but that time isn’t exactly quality time.  After all, you only have 48 hours for you to do laundry, for him to catch up on sleep, and for both of you to explain to the kids why daddy has to leave again even though he just got home.  Any semblance of a routine you established while he was gone gets thrown out the window until you have to put it back together when he leaves again.

But as disruptive as the separation installments are, I’m certainly not going to complain about being able to see my husband a handful of times during short, rushed visits as opposed to not seeing him at all.  In this military lifestyle, we have to take what we can get!  Those separation installments may be frenzied starts and stops with repeated good-byes, but I remind myself that they also come with repeated hellos. 

So long lump sum deployments stay away!  I’ll take my separations in installments please.

What about you?  Do you prefer a separation lump sum or installments?  Do you think the installments are disruptive or do you welcome the chaos?

11 Comments on Lump Sum or Installments: I’ll Take My Separations in Installments Please

  1. Done both… don't like either. but the home for a weekend bit was REALLY annoying in a whole different way! Driving to pick him up from an airport an hour and a half away every Friday night, then Saturday was laundry while he did reports, Sunday was drive to the airport for him to head somewhere else…. I honestly wondered why they bothered having him come home at all, they should have paid for laundry for him and just had him fly to the new place…

  2. My fiance is on a long deployment right now, and although it's only been a month, I think I prefer the lump sum at the moment. Like you said, I've created a new "normal" routine, and even though I miss him like crazy, knowing him and his work stress level I think the lump sum is best suited for our relationship šŸ™‚

    Gotta say though, it would be nice to have it broken up a little more than what it is, but I guess it could always be worse!

  3. Oh- PLEASE just leave if you have to leave! My poor heart just can't handle the in and out, in and out- and we don't even have kids! I need to be able to say good-bye, get used to him being gone, and prepare for homecoming. It sucks, but I think it's the lesser of two evils for my personality and Hubs' personality. He was recently gone for a week, home for about 10 hours, and gone again. I would not have traded that time for anything- but I was completely miseralbe for the following three days! That first week I was able to look forward to seeing him that day, and then I had to say good-byes all over again.

    We signed up for this life and ultimately I will take any second with him I can get- but it would be my preference for the deployments to come and go without the work-ups, fast cruises, here and gone and here and gones. You're stronger than I am!

  4. I am glad someone else said it! I was planning the wedding predeployment and thought often that I was going to lose my mind because he was constantly coming and going. There was never a good way to figure out how long and when he would be gone. Now that he is home, he is gone for an additional 2 months at a training, which I get, and I understand the need but the training started out as a month but has morphed into two! I am super excited that he is home, but the coming and going is exhausting. I used to tell people during the deployment that in many ways for the small person and I R&R is a bit of a punishment. I love that I get to see him and he is safe, but it messes with the rhythm of the deployment and the reign you have on your emotions due to the ups and downs! It's easier some days to know they will either be there or not, the shifting is what throws me off!

    I know this is probably longer than you asked for, but military spouses gotta stick together!

  5. Um, can I vote neither? Guess that's not really an option in a military life though is it?! Having just finished the long separation, I guess I prefer to take it in installments. While the long separations allow us to form a routine and live some kind of "normal" life while daddy is away, it wears on us all after a while. At least with the short ones I know the end of my suffering is much closer!

  6. I have been living in installments since July. As much as I love seeing him it is a total roller coaster (haha, pun not inteded!). I get so excited and worked up to see him, have an amazing time and then crash and burn when he or I have to leave. Its rough. When he deployed I was definitely in a routine. I missed him terribly but I definitely found even footing in that sense of routine.

    But I will take seeing my husband any day. Installments it is!

  7. Funny you should ask…

    Before I would have said lump sum for many of the same reasons you listed but now that I'm in the middle of a very long lump sum I think I would like the installments now. I think I would be ok with my routine being messed up.

  8. I would rather him be gone for a bit than back and forth all the time. It is the worst. When they are gone for a bit then you can get in the habit of them being gone, get your routine established and all that stuff.

  9. I am all for a lump sum deployment. The ins and outs are too much on the kids at this point and frankly, goodbyes are killers. I'd rather say one goodbye for months than a lots of goodbyes over the same time frame.

  10. I completely agree. We went from a base and squadron that deployed for 4 months every year to one that doesnt deploy at all. Instead, they are gone OFTEN on 1-14 night TDYs. The rotating door sucks, BUT I prefer it to the long separation, especially now that we have a baby.

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