Deployments are a fact of life for most military families. While each one is uniquely challenging and no two deployments are the same, some experiences are universal. Here are some of my deployment observations that I am confident my fellow military spouses understand.

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1. The FaceTime and Skype jingles are the soundtrack of your life.

2. A “Missed FaceTime call” notification on your phone ruins your day. But, no worries, if you’re away from your phone, your 2-year-old knows how to answer it.

3. A simple door knock equals a momentary panic attack. Don’t worry, it’s just the UPS guy, totally freaking you out again.

4. Frozen yogurt, a smoothie, or a cookie are all perfectly acceptable meals.  

5. Civilian spouses will tell you they get it because their husbands go on business trips. You smile, nod, and bite your tongue.

6. You’re fully capable of doing everything, but the thought of someone else taking out the trash or scrubbing the shower makes you want to jump for joy.

7. You’re almost irrationally mad at your friend whose husband is always around. Almost.

8. The deployment gnome is real. The car battery will die, the washer will leak and cease to function. Blame it on the gnome.

9. Sleeping diagonally on the bed makes it feel less empty. Starfish position works too.

10. You kind of miss the piles of green t-shirts.

11. The anticipation and excitement of an impending homecoming trump just about all other countdown feelings. Sorry, wedding day!

12. You find yourself scrubbing the top of the fridge in a frenzy, though you know he won’t notice or care, because anything is cleaner than a shipping container in the Middle East.

13. For a moment, nothing is more important than finding the perfect homecoming outfit. Nothing.

14. He returns looking a few years older, not six months older. Deployment accelerates the silver fox status.

15. The homecoming makes all of the frustrating days and lonely nights worth it, if only for one day.