1. Every day is hard, but after you get through the first 30 days, things become just a little easier.
2. Never underestimate the good a good cry will do for you.
3. Find small milestones to count down to instead of marking off 365 days. You will be amazed how many months have gone by after you get past a few of your smaller count downs.
4. The wives of the men fighting next to your husband really do become family; invest in those friendships.
5. Never watch a Romance or War movie while he is away. Period.
6. People will mostly mean well when they try to ask you about the deployment, but its going to make you sad or mad either way. Take their comments with grace and humility (they don't know what they are talking about); enduring these moments will shape you into a strong military spouse just as much as enduring the absence of your soldier.
7. A phone call from down range is more important than anything - including a Sunday sermon. Receiving one will make your week; missing one will break your heart.
8. Making coffee in the morning for one instead of two will make me feel like crying every single day until he returns.
9. Its completely fine to let the 70lb. dog sleep in the bed for a year at least his pillow won't be cold when you roll over in the middle of the night.
10. Lean on your faith, lean on your family, lean on your friends that is what they are there for.
11. Red wine is your friend. So are chocolate chip cookies.
12. Be thankful for modern technology like cell phones, internet, and Skype even if they don't work in Iraq half the time. Half the time is better than nothing.
13. Find the lost art of hand writing love letters back and forth; it will make his day to receive one.
14. Get into an exercise routine - you will feel better after a workout, and your will look great for your soldier's return.
15. The high you feel from seeing his face and feeling his arms around you after 13 long months makes up for all the ups & downs your emotions have gone through in the past year.
After 13 months apart...
Any other military wives out there want to share a lesson learned or some good advice?