Well, we got some pretty disappointing news yesterday. Seems like if it's news from the ship, it's always disappointing.
We knew he'd be leaving again in just a few months. He was set to go out for 4 months at the beginning of next year. They were going with a fleet so they were following the Enterprise's schedule. Well, we found out yesterday that they traded schedules with another ship, and in turn got pulled off the Enterprise deployment. At first, that sounds like it could be good news, but, turns out it's not.
The ship they traded schedules with is going out in a month. They'll be gone for 2.5 months, going to do the same thing that Robert's ship just got back from doing. So, essentially, Robert's ship is doing the same deployment twice in a row..and leaving just over a month after they got home. All this would even be acceptable, except for the fact that the ship they traded schedules with is set to go out at the beginning of next year for 4 months. Sound familiar? Well that's because that's exactly what Robert's ship was set to do in the first place. It's a different deployment, just on the same schedule. Yet again, this sucks. The original deployment had him going to the gulf, meaning we'd get the benefits that go along with deploying to a war zone, like hazardous duty pay and what not. The new deployment is to a much safer place, which is good, but at the same time puts us in the same ship (no pun intended) that we were with this last deployment--all the work and time gone with nothing to show for it.
It's not all about the money..no. I'd much rather him be safe. But I never felt like him being in the gulf was putting him in danger, really. That's why it's upsetting to know that like last time, he's going to be gone for several months and we won't be getting any of those deployment benefits that we had planned on getting.
In addition to that, I just feel like if he's going to the gulf, it's more justified. To me, him being gone for months at a time when he's "called to duty" per say is more reasonable than him going to play war games with our allies or sit in the Mediterranean for a few months.
So why the trade? Who in this world knows? Let's lay it out here: More time at sea, leaving a month after being home, and less pay. Oh yeah, I can see now why they'd want to do that.
Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do about it but suck it up and roll with the punches. We will. Doesn't mean we're happy about it. Over a 13 month span from when he left the first time, he's going to be gone 11 of those 13 months. It's hard on us, but I think the hardest part is watching how it affects Xander. I thank my lucky stars that Robert was here until Xander turned 9 months. I know some people miss out on the birth of their child or those first few months and that's got to be nothing short of heartbreaking. So, I know we are blessed but that doesn't keep me from wanting to complain a little bit about the fact that Robert's missing out on so much. He sees it, I see it, and even Xander sees it. Xander is having a hard time adjusting to Robert being back. It's hard for him to understand. He's not completely comfortable with Daddy like he was before. I know it kills Robert when I walk out of the room and Xander starts crying even though Robert's sitting right there. But, it's just going to take time for Xander to realize Robert is a permanent staple again. And, just when he does that, Robert will be leaving again. A month is just enough time to get back in the swing of things before uprooting everything once more. And when he comes back after this next underway, a month is all we'll have until he leaves yet again.
Fortunately, as of right now, they're still going to be home for the holidays. And I guess I can be thankful that their deployment at the beginning of next year hasn't been lengthened due to this schedule change.
Right now, Robert's cranking on the ship which is both a blessing and curse. It means he's going to have all of 6 days total off before he leaves again, but it also means that every other day he's home before 3pm which is nice to have some time together before he has to be back at work at 5 the next morning.
To say these next few months are going to be trying is an understatement. With plans to look for a new place, pack our things and put them in storage, and move me home to Ohio for the 2011 deployment, we're going to have a lot on our hands with his time at home being cut in less than half. But, we can manage. We always do.
I know we'll get through it. I've proven to myself I can handle it and he's always been a strong person. In the end, we'll be stronger for getting through this year of craziness and loneliness, but I can't help but wish we could just fore go this lesson in strength and perseverance and have the time together that we so desperately need.
I guess I'll be heaving the sigh of relief heard 'round the word come next spring...hopefully.