“You’re so tough! How do you do it?” is a question every military spouse has heard when their significant other is deployed.
When we’re the ones who stay on the home front and deal with the every day hustle and bustle of life with kids.
When people ask me how I do it, I shrug my shoulders. Truthfully, I don’t know. Maybe it’s the fact that my husband is the one who does all the hard stuff. He has to leave his family. I’m the lucky one who gets to stay home and wake up to the sweet greetings of our kids every morning. A boost of adrenaline and an amazing support system got me through the really tough parts.
Friends and family are essential during deployments, and mine show up in full force ready to support me by being whatever I need them to be.
A helping hand, a listening ear, or just another adult to spend time around. My tribe truly kept me sane.
My husband just got home from 13 months on the other side of the world, and by the time he got home I didn’t feel so tough.
My son Ben was up past his bedtime to go to the airport, but it was so worth it. He was happy to see his dad in real life and thus began the “mommy who?” phase. Often, I world show him pictures and play a recording of daddy’s voice in between FaceTime sessions.
Watching my almost 2 year old cling to his dad was just what my heart needed after a long year.
Our son Ben was a baby, not even walking, when Derek was deployed. And a walking, talking, fist-bumping, trick-playing toddler when he returned.
ADJUSTING TO LIFE AFTER DEPLOYMENT
Our family has been complete again, and the adjustment of living life together is not always easy.
Being able to make it through a deployment on our end involves learning to live a new normal. My new normal was routine, routine, routine. Now that Derek is back, I have help!
My routine is not as seamless as it was, and that causes me to feel overwhelmed and sometimes cranky. The things I need to get done sometimes are being pushed off, and the house seems a lot messier now with me plus three boys.
THE REINTEGRATION PROCESS IS TRICKY
My husband is coming into a house, in a city that we have moved to since he’s been gone, so it’s all new to him. He opens every cabinet in the kitchen before he finds what he’s looking for. Searches the bedroom for the empty drawers to put his clothes. And he is lucky to find a place in the bathroom for his things. He sometimes feels like he’s walking on eggshells, feeling like he’s a guest in someone else’s home while I’m trying not to nag him for leaving stuff laying all around the house.
Him coming home is an adjustment for us all. We’re used to leading these separate lives. While it’s not always easy to merge our lives again, it’s NEVER bad. My day dreams for 13 months were made of him coming home and us being a family again. So yes, while sometimes it gets tricky, it is good!
People don’t tend to think about the hard parts of post deployment life…
I wouldn’t think about it either if I wasn’t in the situation myself. It’s not really all that talked about, but it does happen. There are more happy times than not, and for that, I’m thankful.
Seeing his uniform hanging in the closet and his boots sitting by the door makes me feel safe and whole. So bring on the extra laundry, the messes, and the smell of men’s body wash wafting out of the bathroom. This house is louder, and more full of love and life than it has ever been.
And while we’re adjusting to our family being together again, my thoughts are with the friends of mine who aren’t yet reunited.
Because for all of the hardships that come with reintegrating a family, there are a thousand amazing moments. Those are the moments I wish for all my fellow milspouses who are awaiting the return of their service member.
Katie – I always love reading your posts and I’m incredibly proud of the kind of wife and mother you are to your family. Your writing is something I think all women can relate to. Thanks for what you do to support Derek and the sacrifices your family has made throughout the last few years. Cheering you on from our old office in Panama City.
Nisa! Thank you so much for reading, and for your endless support! Missing all of you over there.
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