Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ready to Reunite ... Right??

PHOTO: Our 2006 Reunion after a yearlong deployment to Iraq.

Okay, so I’m a few weeks out from my Soldier’s homecoming. It’s supposed to be the best of times, the ‘end of the trail,’ the happily ever after … right? And mostly, it is. The thought of having him home is exhilarating. Our children will be euphoric, our families are already rejoicing, and we’re making fabulous and fun plans for our Block Leave (civilian translation: the time-off a Soldier gets after a deployment). It’s a great place to be!

At the same time, it’s also a bit nerve-wracking. This man that I love, with whom I share all my secrets, that I adore with all my heart … is also the man that I haven’t seen in many months, with whom I’ve shared scratchy 15-minute phone calls ended by “I’m sorry. Your time has expired. Please hang up,” [forget any secret-sharing there!] and who has not lived in our house for over a year. There is such a stark contrast to all these emotions that it’s sometimes hard to sort out.

When deployment-induced insomnia strikes (that’s not just me, right?), I start dreaming up all kinds of things to worry about. Is our home routine what it should be? What mismanaged numbers might lurk in the bank statements of deployment-past? What will the kids have to say about the time Daddy was gone?

In my more negative moments, I see that our routine is clearly erratic at best; the bank statement, ugh, is a jumble of numbers that only he can truly decipher anyway (I know, I know … I should be all Army-Strong about it and take a class or something, but really, I feel more akin to the poor girl in “Confessions of a Shopaholic” than I do a responsible budget-minded mom), and the kids run crying to Daddy, screaming, “We’re so glad you’re home! Mom is crazy!!”

In reality, I think it will be slightly less dramatic than that, but there is some underlying pressure when a second adult re-enters your [err, ‘our’] home. For the past 12+ months, I have made every decision, prepared every meal, fixed every problem, bandaged every hurt, planned every event, organized every trip, fretted over every fever, driven every carpool, cheered every sport, conferenced with every teacher, paid every bill (I think?) and been responsible for every single aspect of our lives at home. Of course I have been able to consult with my husband on the big things, but the daily events were mine.

Again – the mixed emotions. I am thrilled to share some of this again (possibly leaving some extra brain space for quiet, sane thoughts), but am also a little unnerved and intimidated by it all. Where do you start catching up on the past year? How do you make up for the lost time? What changes will he see in me? The house? The kids? How will he have changed? What has he seen over the past year? What can I ask about? What should I ask about? How long before we’re truly ‘us’ again? … You can see how this might be a lot to decode all at once.

This is our third deployment and third welcome home. Ultimately, I am simply thankful that he is coming home … and just like in the past, we will become ‘us’ again very soon. It is just a matter of “time and talk.” Time to readjust to living together again and talking about … well, about everything!

By the way, one of my favorite welcome home memories comes from our first deployment … a group of wives was working on “hurry home” photos and banners to send to our Soldiers near the end of our deployment. One creative mom brought a photo of her two children … one holding a sign that said “Hurry home, Dad!” and the other holding a sign that said, “Mom’s gone crazy!”

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