When you get to the end of the deployment, many things start to happen. You may have forgotten what it feels like to be kissed or hugged. You may get very nervous about reuniting with your spouse. You may even feel like a different person. YOU ARE. You may have just spent a year of your life as a single mother. You should be proud of yourself for the accomplishment you have just made. It’s not easy when your kids cry that they miss their daddy, or when they are so used to him being gone that they don’t even ask about him. Either way, it breaks your heart.
You should find out from your FRG group or husband when to expect him home, and what activities the unit is planning. His flight home will change 8 times before it’s right, and you need to keep getting updates up to the minute, because it can be adjusted right up to the end. You definitely don’t want him getting in early, only to not have you there. Don’t post this info on your Facebook page…you are advertising to potential terrorists a target.
You will have to decide whether or not to take the kids or other family members. I have chosen to take my kids once, and go alone once. Neither time, did I allow any other family members to be present. You need time to adjust to your entire family again, and so does he. Expect to have a great night’s sleep..because you haven’t in the past year.
Your spouse will be briefed on all kinds of things when he gets home, and just prior to leaving. They discuss how stressful it is after the “honeymoon” phase is over and how to smoothly re-integrate in to the family. Keep in mind that while you may have changed something while he was gone, you have to let him know what to expect. It would be scary to come home after a year and find nothing the same. While your soldier is proud of you for being a strong army wife, he also needs to know that you still need him. Find ways to incorporate him back in to the fold, such as cooking together. Andy is not, by ANY means, a cook, nor has he ever been. But since he’s been back in July, I ask for his help preparing meals. It’s something we can do together, he can feel like he’s helping, and it’s more quality time that staring at the tv all night.
The bottom line is…give it time! Things may be perfect, or they may need some fine tuning. Andy’s first deployment made me realize how much I love him and how much I WANT to be married to him. We both learned to appreciate what we have together, and we have a chance to miss each other. Sometimes instead of hating what the army takes away from us, we have to respect what it gives us in turn. It’s all what you make of it.
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Thanks a bunch!