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Scuba and the military family.

By elaine | October 19, 2009

At the ripe age of __ I decided to learn how to scuba dive. I’m not sure why, but a diver friend of mine said that it’s a way to see a part of God’s beautiful world that few get to experience. Maybe that’s why. This past weekend I had the pleasure of doing 4 open water dives for my certification in Utah at a place called Homestead Crater. I’ll admit that I was pretty nervous before that first dive because I didn’t know what to expect. I had so many questions: What would it be like? What if I ran into trouble and didn’t know what to do? Would I be by myself? Did I have the right equipment and was it up to date? My heart was beating hard as I jumped into the water and began to descend. Ok, why did this experience make me think of all the military spouses and families I know so well? Because in a small way, I had concerns that I related somewhat to concerns that families have during deployments. Here’s what I thought:

First, what would it be like? I knew that I’d have no idea until I was actually IN the water. It’s natural to want to know all the answers BEFORE deployment, but that’s┬ájust not┬ápossible. You prepare the best you can and then learn as you go along after you have to jump into it. It’s easier once you’re in and begin to experience what it really means for your family. Learn from what’s going on around you. Secondly, what if I ran into trouble and didn’t know what to do? Boy, is that a fear that we have most of the time! As soon as I was in the water, my instructor Julie told me that she would always be within arms reach of me the entire time. That was a huge relief because if something did go wrong, I had faith in the fact that she would know what to do. So what if the car breaks down the minute your hubby leaves for deployment? Call the support group and people around you to find help. You don’t have to…and shouldn’t…handle everything yourself when you get into trouble. Someone who knows what you’re going through is always within arms reach of you.

Third, would I be alone? Absolutely not. I learned that I would never dive without a buddy. We would watch out for each other throughout the entire dive. We would “have each other’s back.” That’s the same with you and your “Battle Buddy.” You’re there to support each other and go through your learning together whenever you need to. Don’t ever be far from your Battle Buddy. Finally, would I have the right equipment and would it be current? Yes, I had everything I needed and I did a pre-dive check to be sure it was in working order. You have all the right equipment to get you and your family through this deployment and back on shore again. You have resources around you including websites, programs, books (like I’m Already Home…Again and The Road Home found at www.ImAlreadyHome.com), family readiness conferences, and FRG meetings. The more you find and use the right equipment, the more you will rely on what it can do for you. Keep up with what’s around to help you in all stages of deployment, reunion and reintegration. I’ll be on Twitter putting up occasional Tweets of deployment connection ideas for you a couple of times each week, so come follow me at Twitter.com/ElaineDumler. I’d love to help you through this and have some fun too. Watch for the information/photos of my F-16 incentive ride on the 27th of October!

Topics: Deployment Readiness | No Comments »

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