My husband has deployed multiple times. He’s gone to Korea for a year. He’s been away on countless TDYs. So we’ve depended on programs like FaceTime and Skype to cope with deployment separations.
It allows the kids to see their Daddy. It allows me to see my husband.
But the conversations don’t always go smoothly. This is, after all, real life as a military wife. We’re not always going to be cheerful and upbeat. I’ve had all sorts of talks with my husband on the Internet, and here are some of them.
photo credit: Sgt. Brandon Banzhaf
1. I’ve hung up on my husband on FaceTime.
I’ll mention now that he was in Korea. He wasn’t in a dangerous area. He was gone a little over a year, and it was tough. I had a three-year-old daughter prone to tantrums, and an eight-year-old son with autism who would have meltdowns.
When my husband would ask how my day went, I’d be honest. And sometimes I felt like he wasn’t really understanding what I was going through, especially when he’d calmly be snacking on his M&Ms as I ranted.
Sometimes he would get distracted and start watching his TV when I was lamenting about my day. And a few times he would say, “Oh..I’m sorry. I went to A-town today and had a blast. This old Korean lady makes the best bulgogi!”
I snapped once when he did that. I said something like “It must be nice to have the kid free time,” and then I hung up. He called right away and apologized. I did the same. But look: being away from your partner when you have wild kids is TOUGH.
2. There have been stilted conversations.
Sometimes I didn’t know what to say. I felt like I should at least converse to him for 10 minutes. I’d hear other spouses gushing about spending hours talking with their husbands and I never understood. How? What do they talk about?
I’m not about the small talk. I never have been. I say my business and then I’m ready to go about my day. Tom is the same way. But still, sometimes I’d wonder if we should speak longer.
3. Sometimes Tom would dole out punishments.
Yup, when they kids were really crazy, I’d sit them down in front of the computer and have Tom lecture about proper behavior. He’d remind Natalie that it was not okay to scream when I asked her to put her pants on and explain to Tommy that telling me that dinner looked like “chewed up bugs” was not polite.
4. Yeah, we tried the sensual talks.
Maybe I’m a prude, but I couldn’t do this. Tom didn’t do much, because he could get in trouble, and I didn’t do much because I was worried terrorists might have hacked into the camera or something. So I’d just say something like, “Uh, it’ll be nice when you get home. And. Yeah.” I’m awkward.
5. We’d lecture one another on spending.
Tom would be like, “Was spending $98.52 at Target really necessary?” (For my sanity, yes.) And I’d wonder what all the random charges were. (Normally the bulgogi from A-town. He really loved it. Plus he’d go to a Brazilian Steakhouse where they served pineapple with cinnamon. He was obsessed with that too.)
6. Sometimes we couldn’t properly talk at all.
The connection wasn’t always the best. We’d be disconnected. Or it would freeze. Sometimes it was amusing when it would freeze Tom mid-speak. His mouth would be hanging open and one eye would be partially closed.
7. We did the teary conversations.
This was mostly from me on a bad day. I’d be all, “I don’t know how I can do this. Everything is breaking! Natalie is watching some weird show called Yo Gabba Gabba. It’s traumatizing me.” I’d try to always remain upbeat and such, but everyone has their breaking point.
Having to speak to my husband over the computer could be tricky. But I was always grateful that I could at least see him. Even if he did irritate me or freeze up during a bad connection. But at least I could see that he was okay.
Amber Myers is a proud military wife and mother to two kids who drive her to eat lots of chocolate. She blogs over at Airing My Laundry. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
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This sounds so much like our life right now. Thankfully there is less spending on his side, excepting amazon and google play, no field trips for him. But I’m finding myself holding off on Facebook posts so we have something fresh to share just with him. But it’s so good to see his face and hear his voice – and it’s definitely easier on the kids, though the novelty of seeing himself on screen hasn’t worn out for our 6yr old so he’s pretty silly most of the time. Our first deployment 12 years ago it was all slow mail service and 20mins broken conversation once a week if we were lucky.
Yes, when my husband was first deployed there was no Skype so it was mostly letters as well. I am glad we can at least see him now! Even if he does get frozen on the screen often.
He’s not allowed to even send me a picture of himself taken in his cabin much less FaceTime with me. He had to pay a hefty penalty. I’ve not even heard his voice for 9 months. It’s so hard on the both of us.