Thursday, October 11, 2012

Welcome Home.... Maybe?

Something that I have often been asked is how I handle my husband being deployed. Essentially, regardless of the way it's worded, most wives cannot imagine a life with their spouse deployed for 6 months, 9 months, sometimes even a year or more. It is simply something beyond their comprehension. Even the wives who have dealt with smaller underway's are often shocked by the difference between 2 months and 6 months. A deployment of only a couple months is really just long enough to miss your spouse without being long enough to truly adjust to them being gone.
People are often surprised by my answer... I readily tell them that it is not the deployment that is most difficult, but rather the homecoming. When they are done asking me if I hate my husband.... I explain. The first couple of weeks when he leaves are very hard, both for me and the kids. The last couple weeks while you are anticipating their return is hard. However, the months in the middle are simply... Life. In some ways it is easier on your own, at least in my experience. While I miss him, miss his company and his humor... and yes, the sex, having one less person in the house is also somewhat easier. You don't have to worry about their schedule, will they be home for dinner, are they able to pick up the kids from practice, etc. You just KNOW you're on your own. You never have to schedule an outing around their duty days. And, in all honesty there is one less temperament you have to be concerned with. Life is a little slower paced for us when daddy is gone.
Now, this is not to say we are not happy to have him home. It doesn't mean we don't love him, it doesn't mean we don't want him as part of the family, and it doesn't mean we don't miss him terribly. It just means it is easier.
The he comes home... And you get a week of the honeymoon period. The kids can do no wrong, the husband is always in a terrific mood, dinner is perfect, everything is roses...
And after a week, it all changes again. Your spouse, or at least my spouse, becomes cranky with the children since he hasn't had to deal with them for months. He feels angry and pushed aside that we have continued to live our lives while he was away. He expects everything to be as it was when he left, and that is just not possible. I get tired of having to work around another adult when I have been completely autonomous for months. The kids don't love having ANOTHER adult telling them what they can and cannot do. And, as a couple, you need to rediscover each other. So, there is another adjustment period, a time where we all have to relearn to live together, to establish new roles, to find a new balance.
All in all, while being without your husband is difficult, it has always been the homecoming that we all struggle with. I'm sure, though we may be loathe to admit it, I cannot be alone in this.

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