Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Guest post by Amy Bird - celebrating without your Sailor

Last month I posted about how to maintain your independence and be self-sufficient when bad things happen while your Sailor is away. This month I'm looking at how to manage when good things happen in your Sailor's absence. I'm thinking birthdays, anniversaries, special one-off events. Those things that you would really love to share with your Sailor but are difficult because he isn't physically there.

What focussed my mind on this is that today is the cover reveal for my new novel, psychological thriller 'Three Steps Behind You.' That's quite a milestone, and the sort of day you would like to celebrate with your other half. I've had other occasions like that - for instance, when I was making my directorial debut of a play that I'd written, and at the last moment my Sailor was deployed unexpectedly, so couldn't see it.

Here are my tips to deal with this sort of scenario:

1. Share remotely as best you can. Make sure your Sailor knows how special the day is. Sometimes you can lose track of days/ events when you are working hard at sea. Remind him a couple of days in advance about the event, and then on the day itself he'll be primed to call or e-mail you to share in the celebrations. And if he can't get in touch, he'll at least be thinking of you! Plus you can also save a memento of the event.  He'll be just as gutted as you are that he has to miss out on the event. Send photos afterwards, or any celebratory material that will keep, so he can see it.

2. Celebrate the event in your own right. I try to schedule events like launches so that my Sailor can be there. But there are some events, like birthdays, for which you can't really control the timing. Don't be disheartened, or scrap your plans - gather your friends, family and colleagues around you, and get excited about the event itself. If it's a great achievement, or a milestone, the question of who is or isn't there doesn't change that. You have something to celebrate independently.

3. Manage your own expectations. Sometimes it looks like your Sailor will be able to attend, and then suddenly plans will change. As I mentioned above, my Sailor was meant to be able to come to the opening night of my new play, but then there was an emergency and his ship had to deploy. These things do happen, and you need to have a little place in your heart that is hardened to that possibility, so that if it happens you don't get overwrought and you can still enjoy your special event. The 'keep calm and carry on' mentality, if you will. Happily, this time round it looks like my Sailor will be able to come to my book launch party, but I've pre-armed myself in my heart for the possibility he may not make it. If he can be there, that will make it that extra bit special.

4. Reciprocate. A lot of our thinking can be about whether or not our Sailor will be there for our special event. But there are also events that our Sailors have that are important. For instance, a military ball, a ceremony, or a cocktail party. Just as you expect him to commit to coming to your events, you need to commit to his. Sometimes there will be a straight diary clash, or it won't be practicable. When you can make it there, though, you should. There needs to be a covenant for those really important events that you will each try your damndest to be there - and don't break that covenant unless you must.

5. Have your own celebration. If you or your Sailor can't make each other's big day, then schedule your own celebration another time, with a nice lunch or a dinner. For instance, last week was the first Valentine's Day in 12 years that my Sailor and I have managed to spend together - he's either been away or about to deploy and surrounded by family. We've always managed to exchange cards another time and have our own romantic dinner in lieu after the event. If it's a birthday, you can get each other a whole new birthday cake if need be.

So whatever you're celebrating, make sure you enjoy it. And thank you for celebrating cover-reveal day with me!

Three Steps Behind You, Amy's second novel, is released on 13 March 2014, and is available to pre-order now from Amazon US Amazon US and UK.

Amy Bird
I am a Navy Wife, lawyer, and a published author of Navy themed romance thriller Yours is Mine. Born in London, England, I moved all around the UK for 18 years before coming back to London for university. I've been here ever since, with the occasional epic holiday to join my Navy husband overseas. 

I have a MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, and I'm also an alumni of Faber Academy.  My creative focus is on novels and plays. As well as being a writer, I'm also a lawyer. I work four days a week at one of the big city firms, specializing in employment law – and I'm a trustee of a new writing theatre. 

When I'm not writing or lawyering, I'll generally be found cooking with my husband (he’s on shore this year!), or in a theatre somewhere. My debut novel, Yours is Mine, is the first in a three-book deal with Carina UK, the new digital imprint of Harlequin. 

Visit me at and purchase Yours is Mine on Amazon UKAmazon US, or Amazon Canada.
Find me @London_Writer on Twitter Facebook Too!

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