There is something about being a multi-deployer that changes the way you live your life. This isn’t our first deployment, and probably won’t be our last. For the last several years we have been surrounded by families that are on the same deployment schedule as ours. And, we’ve always known that another deployment is imminent, even when they are still overseas. That does something to you, to your mentality, to the way you perceive life, to the relationships you forge during those character trying times.

I have been so blessed by the friendships I’ve experienced as a military spouse. Making friends so far from family creates these crazy, strong bonds that are ever lasting. I can hug a wonderful friend goodbye and know, that although we may lose touch for weeks, months, even years, that at some point down the road we’ll pick up our friendship right where we left it, as if no time had passed at all.

I love my friends fiercely. My heart knows no other way to love. I either love with all that I am or not at all. There is no in-between for me. And isn’t that the best way to experience such a deep emotion, any way? Deeply and fully?

But here is the thing about these deployments; when our spouses come home, to our awaiting arms, to our hearts that stopped beating for months while we waited with bated breath for news of our loved ones boots touching American soil, when that time arrives, those wonderfully deep friendships usually hit the back burner while we live the next months in anxiety and anticipation of the next separation. Obviously, we keep in touch… but when it comes down to spending time with our loved one who is scheduled to leave again or meet up with a friend… our spouses always win in that regard. Every moment together counts.

And so while our spouses are home we place our friendships on hold to some level.

And then when they leave again, we pick up those friendships again, we lean on each other, support each other, lend each other strength. We watch each other’s children, run errands, are available during emergencies, hang out… those friendships truly sustain us, and they make us better people as a result.

Today was one of those days where I was able to spend time with some dear friends, us in deployment mode, needing each other, loving each other, supporting each other. I love this Army life of ours, not the deployments so much, though I am so proud of Brooks I could burst, but I do love it. I love the moves, the Army community, the friendships, the culture. I wouldn’t trade it for another life, not one easier or more predictable. I’ve gained too much from it, and although some may think me crazy for thinking so, I’d say the grass is definitely greener on this side.

So, here are some photos from our day (We homeschooled, did some process oriented art, Brooks finished his last day of ITBS testing, and we attended the Month of the Military Child Festival on post). As a side note, while Tanja and I tried to make our way back to the car (I’m gimpy, and as she put it, she’s limpy) we were picked up by the free shuttle provided for the event. Our driver was supposed to drop us off by our vehicle, but kept driving and scared us half to death (as he swung into what appeared to be a secluded area replete with gravel road) as we were trying to convey to him that he’d passed our spot and he ignored us (we were sitting directly behind him). Tanja and I both thought he was going to drive us to an out of the way spot and all I could think was that I wouldn’t be able to run away and would have to grudgingly sacrifice myself while everyone else got away. I swear when Tanja and I hang out we have too much fun. She’s one of those friendships I truly feel blessed by and utterly cherish.

So, here’s our day, in photos: