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Why Didn't You Tell Me You Signed Up For That?

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signed up for that
A soldier signs reenlistment paperwork, extending their contract another four years. (DVIDS/Steven Lopez)

My fiance signed up for the Reserves without asking my thoughts on it first. “It’s only once a month," he told me. "I have a waiver that will prevent me from deploying for two years. So don’t worry! I won’t have to leave home for longer than one weekend a month.”

That sure made it sound better, I was still mad he didn’t include me in the decision. But I let it go, because I know all about his passion for the Army.

My fiance forgot to mention that changing his job in the Army meant going to school to reclass for 40 days. Again he tried to reassure me, “It’s only Monday through Friday, so I will be home every night.”

Turns out physical training was each morning at 4 am so he didn’t get to come home at all. Considering I work 50 hours a week and we have a one-year-old, this was unexpected.

We were completely unprepared. He would normally be home with the baby on Mondays and Tuesdays, so I had to get a babysitter for those days. We had to spend money that we definitely did not have. He also didn’t mention that instead of getting paid once a week like his full-time job, he would not be paid until his schooling was complete.

Funny, this doesn’t work well when you are living paycheck to paycheck and really depend on each one to pay certain bills. We survived. Our credit scores were lower because of all of the late payments, but we survived. I thought that was a lesson learned, paychecks are irregular. At least I knew that he wouldn’t have to go away again.

Then in the first week of September, he decided to let me know he was ordered to go to Airborne School for three weeks out of state. I thought it was strange to be “ordered” one week in advance and later found out he had signed up for school months prior.

Arguments did happen, but in the end, I knew that he had always wanted to get his jump wings. So, off he went, and again I was left with the baby, my job, no cash reserves and a lower credit score. At least I knew that the next time he was going away was for training would be about a year away -- I would be prepared for that.

Then one evening in November he pops up with, “I’m going to Afghanistan in March, I’ll be gone for a year.”

“Is this a joke? What about the waiver?" I said. He refused to use the waiver because he didn't believe his life was any more valuable than another man or woman.

He forgot I don’t know much about the Army and I didn’t know that the months leading up to deployment include out-of-state training here and training there. He is basically gone.

And I am here. I'm a little mad I was left out of his decision making. But I am so proud of the guy and I miss him already. Come home soon. Please.

Chrissy Deliea lives in Pennsylvania and her husband Mike serves in the Army Reserves.

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