Books to Read When Your SO is Deployed

…or at bootcamp, or living in another place, or super busy with military life.

These are the books that I read during long stretches of absence, when I need to find comfort in something small. Some of them are fiction, some are not. Some are self help, some are not. I figure it’s good to read a little bit of everything. Because military SO’s need all the help we can get.

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1. How to be Married by Jo Piazza
You don’t have to be married to get the fruits of Piazza’s bare-it-all narrative, but it doesn’t hurt. She goes into the nitty gritty of what it means to choose one person, and then she explores what that means to different cultures. Ultimately, How to be Married shows that there’s no One Way to be together, just do do your best. I’m currently reading this one.

2. The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
Communication is Hard when your SO isn’t there to talk to face to face. Palmer is an expert at asking for what she wants, and she’s very keen to teach you how in this touching memoir about the music business and art for arts sake. “I trust you this much. Should I? Show me.”

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3. Rising Strong by Brene Brown
Brene Brown has her PhD in vulnerability. Okay, not literally. But she should. This book is super important because it shows us how to rumble with the stories we make up for ourselves, especially the ones based on fear and distance. It’ll teach you how to communicate the stories to your significant other.

4. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Historical, unbelievable, and a true hero’s journey. Sometimes, it’s nice to read about those who came before our SO’s and survived. Admittedly, this one is a bit harrowing, so maybe try it when you know your SO is home and safe if you’re concerned for their safety.

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5. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
This one I think is particularly great for Navy SO’s. It’s got time travel, sailing, action, romance. Mostly, it’s a great escape from missing someone. But as someone who loves a sailor, that aspect was really fun for me.

6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Do you remember how you fell in love with your SO? All the butterflies in your stomach, the wondering if they felt the same. Those first kisses… This book is sure to remind you of that. Rainbow Rowell is queen of romance in my eyes, and she’s really great at conjuring that “falling in love” feeling.

Baby Just Run

Today is a happy day. One year ago I met the love of my life, on an ice cream date. How cute, right? We’d been talking for about a week on EHarmony and it was one of the cutest dates I’ve ever been on.

We didn’t actually get together for another two months, but I count this day as a victory. You see, I’ve been waiting for the year mark for quite a while now. I’ve known I’ve loved my boyfriend since month two, when I decided to switch churches and the first person I wanted to tell was him. And ever since then my love has grown exponentially. I think I’ve been waiting for the years to catch up with my feelings.

I’ve been a hopeless romantic all of my life. If you follow this blog some, you’ll notice that so many of the books I review are in the romance category. I’m the same way with music. Except, most of the love songs out there are of the pining variety.

Today is a good day, but it’s a day that I won’t see my love.

It’s times like this that I think of songs like Run by Rex Goudie. I listened to this song so much in high school. I’d equate the sentiments to lovers in books and movies, to a future guy I wasn’t sure even existed. It’s funny now, finding all of this old music that hits very close to home during long stretches of separation.

All of those songs I lived on growing up about aching hearts and overcoming distances prepared me for this time in my life. Gave me the ability to pull strength out of the emptiness. I’m able to find the romantic in a time that’s anything but.

So today is still a good day. Even though I miss him, even though all I really want is a hug right now. Because I am fully capable of holding onto hope… and music.

Lessons from Loving a Sailor


I’ve had this list in my drafts since my first experience with deployment. With another one impending, I thought I’d finally publish it.

1. His job always comes first.

Changes in military scheduling will always trump prior plans. Dates tend to change often, and as an SO I just have to roll with them. I want to whine and complain so bad because even when he’s home I have to let him go so often. But I don’t because I know he’s just doing his job.

2. He comes second.

I can describe my boyfriend in one word around deployment time: tired. He works so many hours and gets little sleep so time with me ends up more than often being cuddle and fall asleep time. It’s easy to feel jilted from quality time (especially combined with my first point) when he gets like this, but I have to remind myself that this is what he needs. And loving him means putting his needs before my own.

3. Homecomings are wonderful, but they’re hard.

When he came back from our first deployment as a couple, I remember feeling so happy to have him home, but also out of place from not having seen him in months. I had to get used to having him around again. And he had to get used to being home again. It took some time, but it was totally worth it.

4. Communication takes discipline.

During deployments, I try to write every day just so I can have something to hold onto. It keeps our connection alive when we can’t talk on the phone or see each other in person. It gets hard when he doesn’t respond for weeks at a time, but I keep it up as best I can because I know it will benefit both of us in the long run.

5. You’ll surprise yourself with what love will allow you to handle.

I never thought I’d date someone in the military. I thought long separations were too much for me to handle. They’ve been hard for sure, but there’s so much love in my heart for my man that serves and I’m so proud when I can be his rock on a hard day. Love trumps all of these difficulties. I can’t imagine my life without him, even just missing him.

Time, and How it Heals

I woke up to a text yesterday morning from my boyfriend saying “I love you so much.” He was on his way into work.

The busy season for his crew has started again and I’m not going to see him as frequently as I used to, until I don’t see him at all for a couple months. It’s sad, realizing that the life I’ve known since before Christmas is about to change. But before that I’d known deployment life, so I know I can do this again.

So many things in life are temporary. And while I scroll through my Tumblr feed so close to Valentine’s Day I’m reminded of a time where I was as heartbroken as some of the people I follow are. When there was a different guy in my life that decided he didn’t want to be anymore. When I see those posts, all I can think is that feeling doesn’t last. That one day you wake up and you’ve moved on. For that, I am grateful.

I think of my boyfriend, who has been one of the most caring and loving people I’ve had the privilege of having in my life. I realize what true love really is, and I never want to settle for less.

Just like I had to take the time to move on from an old relationship to find this one, I also have to wait for him to do his job so we can have another season of togetherness.

All of the waiting, the lonely nights, the fending off of question as to where my other half is, is utterly worth it. Maybe one day I’ll wake up to him every morning, but I don’t mind the waiting.

Whatever journey we start in life will always have an end. Seasons will change. It’s important to find the lessons in each, so that even the hardest of times will be fruit.

There’s so much good out there. It’s time to find it.

Songs to Survive Deployment

Since my boyfriend left, I’ve been slowly compiling songs to listen to, to help me through this first deployment. I think I have enough now to share with all of you. I really, really love this playlist and I hope you do too.

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For When They First Leave

  • Across The Sea by The Sweeplings
  • 500 Miles (Acoustic) by Jefr Tale feat Louise Rademakers
  • All of the Stars by Ed Sheeran

 

For When You Feel Strong

  • Yours – Russell Dickerson
  • Can’t Help Falling In Love by Ingrid Michaelson
  • Make You Feel My Love by Adele
  • Bless The Broken Road by Rascal Flatts

 

For When You Want To Cry

  • I’m Already There  by Lonestar
  • Glitter In The Air by P!nk
  • Alex’s Song by Grayson Kessenich
  • Restless by Alison Krauss

 

For The Everyday MILSO Feels

  • I Get to Love You by Ruelle
  • From the Ground Up by Dan + Shay
  • I Choose You by Sara Bareilles
  • I Like The Sound of That by Rascal Flatts

 

You can listen to the entire thing on Spotify below!