It is that time again: work-ups are beginning, and even though my husband's last deployment was over a year ago, it feels like just yesterday that he was leaving for the exact same training program. A lot of people extend their sympathies to military spouses and families when their husbands deploy (and, granted, these deployments are difficult and usually 7 months to one year long), but I have found that work-ups can often be worse than the actual deployment. While it is easy to get into a routine of being alone when your husband is gone for over six months, when he leaves for three weeks and comes back for three, then leaves for three weeks again, and this pattern repeats itself several times before the actual deployment, the constant goodbyes and welcome homes can be a strain on stability in a relationship. It is a not-too-publicized fact that for many military families (like pilots or others whose training requires traveling to distant bases, or out to sea), "deployment", when it includes these long work-up periods, is actually over a year long.
I saw a television commercial for a jewelry store during my husband's last deployment in which an actor portraying a Navy pilot (he was wearing wings on his uniform) was shown speaking to his wife at home via a video computer chat. Behind him was a wall of blue-lit screens meant to simulate one of those over-the-top, "top secret" aircraft carrier rooms often shown in movies. I laughed at this commerial and still do whenever I think of it! Because while military on the ground sometimes have access to Skype and other video chat methods, the best families can hope for from a carrier is scattered email and--every so often--a censored and staticky phone call made from an expensive phone card. It is difficult to get news, and you never know when the next communication will be. The Navy life provides plenty to be grateful for (like living near a beautiful ocean!), but there is no doubt that it can be stressful at times.
Have any of you had similar experiences or frustrations?