Wednesday, August 6, 2014

He's Home For Dinner

This job here at the Air Force Academy isn't all roses and flowers. Once Brian starts flying he'll have long 12+ hour days sometimes. He'll work Saturday's some weeks and he's busy. But he's home. And he's safe.  (I mean I don't know how good he'll be at flying gliders but for the most part he's safe!) And I try every single day to be grateful for those two things because I know how fortunate we truly are.

I remember  the 4 deployments we had while at Offutt. There were many good days and there were many bad days too. The weekends were harder than the weekdays. And  I was usually fine during the day when we'd be doing our normal routines but dinnertime was always hard. There was just that fat reminder that the empty spot at the dinner table, that was Brian's, and he was gone.  I never knew how to cook for 1 that first deployment when it was just me and Brady who was an infant. And it was lonely to make just one plate and sit at the table. I remember hoping every day that his schedule would work out so that he could Skype with us while we ate so it wasn't so lonely.

Realizing how hard dinner was those first few deployments I made a point to have dinner with others. Sometimes I would invite deployment buddies over for dinner or accept an invitation for dinner at friends' houses because it made that time so much easier.  And I made a point too when my husband was home to invite those families over that had loved ones deployed.  My one dear friend invited us over almost every week during the deployments (thanks, Erin!!) and to her I am ever so grateful because it was a bright spot in our week to have others to dine with.

I was contacted by Hachette Books to read a copy of Sarah Smiley's book, Dinner With The Smileys*. I had heard of this story before, a Navy wife who invited a guest over for dinner every week for the year that her husband was deployed so that their dinner table wasn't empty. I was intrigued by the story so I instantly agreed to read it.

*I received this book free to review but all opinions and thoughts are truly my own.

About a week after I received it, I dug in and honestly couldn't put it down.  I would read and find myself nodding because I could just relate to so many of her feelings surrounding deployments.  "Dinnertime is usually the most difficult time for families separated by a military deployment. The service member's empty seat makes the absence that much more vivid." YES!  Just yes. And she spoke not only of the many guests that graced their home but of the emotions she went through, the problems she ran into with her boys, and her fears and hopes for the future.

So if you're going through a deployment, about to go through or have gone through deployments, I really recommend reading this book. And even if you're not military but have experience loss of a loved one, or frequent separations, or just want to read a touching story, you should really pick this one up. You can purchase it here via Amazon and here via Barnes and Noble.

After every deployment and now that Brian isn't deploying for awhile, dinner time is so, so special in our house. I love looking around the table and seeing the 3 people I love the most all together  sharing a meal. And I vow every day to feel grateful for this. I encourage you to reach out to family who is a missing a loved one.  Invite them over for dinner, share a meal with them or heck even bring them a meal and eat it with them. I know for a fact that you will make their day that much easier to get through.

Check out the new paperback edition, available September 16th!


Jen said...

Sounds like an amazing book, I will definitely check it out!

Kate @ Daffodils said...

I am with you- dinnertime and the weekends are THE WORST. Ill have to check this book out!

Jenny @ Creatively Blooming said...

Sounds like an awesome book! I may start giving it as gifts!

Jenn said...

We frequently ate at a friend's house while Steve and her husband were deployed. You are right- it was so much easier when we had company!!

Hana R said...

My saving grace through deployments have always been when friends invited me over for dinner!!

Shannon said...

Although I can't relate to the military aspect, I totally agree about the importance of dinner time. I LOVE sitting around the table with my whole family each night. It is indeed a very special time.

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