Are you there? Hello?

In the age of the internet, staying in touch during deployment is a cinch. Sort of…

In the “old days” when Horatio spent three years on a submarine, he’d deploy for 6 months and I could send a “family gram” once per month. It was essentially a telegram. I had to fill in 50 words, mail it to a specified address, and the message would somehow be transmitted to him on the boat.
Wives weren’t permitted to put any bad news in them. Anything “racy” was censored. Saying “I love you” was a waste of 3 words. He knew I loved him. What he really wanted was news from home, so I’d do my best.

I could also send letters, and did, A LOT, but they took a long time to reach him. After all, submarines are meant to be mysterious, out of sight. They surface only when necessary or when going to port, so mail was irregular, to say the least.

The next time Horatio deployed, he was on an aircraft carrier and by then, Al Gore had invented the internet…. (hmmm)

Horatio and I could send emails back and forth, but it was spotty, due to security. It was October 2001.

This time, we have email, and, when he’s in a location where it is permitted, SKYPE! It’s great to be able to see him, but it is especially great for the boys to be able to see him. It actually took Harold a while to get used to the idea that he couldn’t just pull Daddy up on the computer screen at will.

When bandwidth is limited, we can use Skype to instant message, which is almost as good as talking live.

While technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, though, communication is not always great.

Let’s face it. When a military member is deployed, he/she is busy. Days go by when I don’t see Horatio’s email address in my inbox. More often than not, the messages I do receive are one liners, or even one worders. (Is that a word?)

The one line emails used to annoy me, but I’m used to it now and I much prefer a one line email to no email.

I know Horatio is thinking of us all the time, but he’s incredibly busy. He works 15 hour days, minimum, and he works 7 days per week.

I know, most of the time, he’d much rather be here, living the boring suburban life, but he’s over there, busy, doing important work. So I continue to send daily updates and pictures and hope that he has time to read them.

When I don’t hear back or get a one line email saying, “thanks” or “kiss the boys for me,” I know he is busy and if he had more time, he’s write more. It’s just the way it is.

A quick contact is much better than no contact.

We are 5 months in…  That’s 20.5 %

Every day is one day closer to homecoming.


About Commander in Chief At home

Erin is a military spouse and, sometimes temporarily single mom to 4 boys. She's a parenting coach, writer, teacher, special needs (Autism) mom, and much more.
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3 Responses to Are you there? Hello?

  1. Thank you for writing this – it’s so important for non military families (me) to read about the daily struggles. Military families seem to be so strong. It’s amazing.


  2. Kristi says:

    I teared up at “kiss the boys for me” – makes me realize just how lucky I am to see my husband’s name available on IM all day long, and to have him here each night. Mari is right – you are strong and amazing!


  3. Jill says:

    Thank God – or Al – for email! Like you said, the one line emails used to annoy me but when you put them in perspective of their busy/non-stop days it’s easier to understand.

    One thing the Coast Guard ships can’t do is Skype. I’m always jealous of friends in the other services who have that option. They can’t do anything that requires streaming internet. But, there are times when we catch each other at the right time where we email back and forth as if we are IM’ing, go figure.

    We’re 24 months in, 92.3% for us. July, when CB transfers, can’t come fast enough!


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