Communication with Brooks while overseas has definitely improved during the last five deployments. We have experienced the whole gamut of communication frustrations: from Brooks’s use of reporter’s satellite phones during the first deployment, to snail mail, long lines and expensive phone cards at the pay phones, yahoo messenger, shoddy internet service and finally, at times, the use of video conferencing via Skype and other services. Our one attempt at a VTC on post didn’t pan out, though I can’t recall why anymore.

But here’s the thing about shoddy communication due to all the craziness that is slow and unreliable technology: it makes you an expert at communicating effectively, quickly, and efficiently. You never know when the call will drop so you get all the important stuff out first. In a clear and concise manner so there’s no room for miscommunication. And you tell each other a bazillion times, at least, how miserable you are without each other, because you each just need to know how much you’re missed. True story. And then finally, FINALLY, the conversation can steer towards normal topics: day to day occurrences, funny tid-bits, reminiscing about the past and looking forward into the future. And always some more lovey dovey stuff, at least on my end, for good measure.

And then sometimes… sometimes you hold on tight to some of the emotional baggage that you disguise during the deployment. The overwhelming sadness that overruns you at times, because you don’t want him to worry. It’s a delicate balance, letting him know you miss him, while not letting him know at times it you can literally choke on the feeling. The stress wrought on by day to day occurrences, because there isn’t much he can do from so far away, and sometimes you can just tell that they just have enough on their plate, and it can wait.

I am incredibly blessed to have a beau who knows me so well, who when the connection is clear enough, can read me like a book and will prod me when he knows that what I’m really needing is his assurance that all will be well. Or the way he lets other things slide because he knows without a doubt I’m capable of handling stuff on my own.

Battle buddies or not, amazing family members who continually call and check on me… without Brooks by my side, I wouldn’t be able to make it through a single week of deployment, let alone months on end. I am so incredibly thankful at the way that these deployments have shaped our relationship and truly strengthened it. It surely hasn’t been easy at times, but the ride has been incredible, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.