Go and Do It: Choosing Adventure During Deployment


10 months is a long time to be without your spouse…or your dad. 10 months is just short of a year. 10 months will be almost half of our youngest’s little life. 10 months of deployment is no joke. It’s a hard and treacherous road to walk along. You go to bed every night alone. You wake up alone. The time ticks slowly by but never more slowly than the evenings your kids go to bed easily, your kitchen is clean, and you’re left sitting on the couch thinking about how all that time ticking by doesn’t feel like it’s inching you any closer to the end. Deployment can be isolating and lonely. So this is how I’ve met that challenge. It’s been my battle cry and maybe it can be yours do: Go and Do It.

He’s gone and he’s not coming back anytime soon and you need to hang your Christmas lights. It’s cold and the ladder is tall and you’ve never done it before. Go and do it anyway.

You husband is gone for the holidays and your friends invite you to their house for Thanksgiving. It’s a far drive. And add in your children and the stops, fighting, and begging for screens, you’re looking at tons of potential extra stress. Go and do it anyway.

Your friends are camping for the weekend. You’ve never tent camped with your children. Your small children. There will be tons of help to set up the tent and load/unload the car. I know it’s scary, but go and do it anyway.

Here’s the thing. We all have a choice when our spouse is deployed. Some of us dig in and sink into comfortable rhythms, grasping for ways to give our kids some sort of stability when life feels so turned upside down without their other parent. And that’s great. And the kids need that, too. We’ve done plenty of that as we say no to play dates in lieu of a family day.

But what if we also dug into adventure? You see, I don’t want my kids to remember these long months without their dad as the worst of their lives. That aspect, missing him, comes in droves and tsunami sized waves all on its own. I want my kids to remember this year as the year we were brave. The year we chose adventure. It was the year that Dad was gone but also the year that we went out and did it anyways.

Load them on the plane, ladies. Pack the car and visit family or friends. Buy the tickets to the water park. Go camping or swimming or hiking or walking around your neighborhood. Have lemonade stands, visit the zoo, play at parks you’ve never been to.

I’m not condoning lavish trips or debt filled “vacations” that leave you more stressed than when you started. But I can get behind day trips to the beach with packed lunches and driving sandy and exhausted kids home way past their bedtimes. I will shout “Smores in the backyard firepit” from the rooftops while my kids chase lightning bugs. I will invite friends to our house for movie nights and driveway basketball. And all the while, right in the middle of all that adventure, I know what will happen. …I will miss him.

Tears will fill my eyes as I watch our baby walk on shaky legs for the first time without him. I will video our daughter attempting her bike sans training wheels wishing her dad was there to encourage her. I will let our son try dangerous things, aching for his dad to be there to cheer him on or direct his steps.

I’m learning that we can do both. We can mourn what’s been lost by a job that calls for all a family can give. And we can rejoice in the fact that there are adventures to be had- even while Dad isn’t here to do them with us. We can dig in and stabilize their little hearts while walking with them into hard and new things.

Our adventure year. The year we missed him and video calls weren’t enough. The year that the kids needed more snuggles, more affirmation, and more of mom than I could give. The year that we went. And we did. And we planned out how many of these new spaces we would bring him to next year. And next year we would do all of it together. But this year… This year? Well, it’s is the year we held hands, held each other, and walked out of our front door and did all the things we wished we could do with him. The year that, even when we were scared, we decided to go out and do it anyway.

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Kalie Vidales
Kalie Vidales is a lover of Jesus, her husband, their two children, and all things floral. She has been following her Active Duty Soldier around the country for the last 8 years to 5 different duty stations. She spends her days leaving half-finished cups of coffee around the house as she chases her kids, reads C.S. Lewis when she has 5 minutes alone, and desperately tries to keep her black lab, Skip, off the couch. She loves to write about her faith, family, and the grief of losing her mother way too early. She has an M.A. in Linguistics which has aided her very little in convincing her kids they have to wear pants every day. As an Army Brat who grew up and became an Army Wife, she enjoys plugging into church, building deep relationships, and making a home wherever the next PCS sends her.