It's amazing to think that just two short weeks ago, I was waiting very impatiently for my husband to come home. While I waited, I read the blog of a fellow milspouse who was documenting the transition of her family's reunion and her own struggle between her fantasy homecoming and the real one. If you have the time, it is worth the read.
Truth be told, it was laugh out loud funny but totally unrealatable for me. While I know there are some husbands who want nothing more than to come home and find a comfy spot on the couch, that has never been the case for my husband. The man has never been able to sit still for more than about five minutes since I've met him. He came back after ten months and picked up right where he left off without missing a single beat. In fact, I think it is safe to say that he has picked up his old responsibilities and then some. Since his return I have not cooked a single dinner. I have only done about 25% of the dishes. And I'm pretty sure he is the last one that ran a load of laundry. I have my extra partner in crime to help me tackle bath times and bed times. I have not had to take out the garbage in weeks. And this morning as I let the dog out of the house, I saw him catch a small bird--guess who is going to clean up that mess? (Hint: not me.)
I know I should be very grateful for this fact, so you are absolutely allowed to give me a good mental slap before I get ready to complain about it...especially if your husband has not come home yet or if your husband has retreated to the solitude of his comfy couch. (Go ahead. Give me a good smack right in the middle of my forehead.)
I expected that my husband might need some time to readjust to being home, but I never expected that it was actually me who would feel displaced. I had gotten so used to being the primary doer, decision-maker, and head of the household that I am having a hard time letting those duties go and letting my husband resume his rightful position. If I am being blatantly honest, I liked the independence and confidence I gained over the past year and I feel like it is being stripped away from me. I don't want to lose the newer, stronger me that I have found.
Fortunately, I have a very understanding husband...and a very intuitive one. One afternoon he sat me on our own comfy couch and let me talk it out. I told him how I felt lost, because the schedule that I had operated under for so long had been changed. I told him that I felt a bit bored, because most of the duties that used to occupy my time were being done for me. And I told him I felt disappointed that he was never going to see the better woman I had become.
Because he's the most awesome man on the planet, he assured me that he had noticed the positive changes in me--and even better, he told me that I had made him proud. He even offered me back some of my old chores like being on trash and doggie duty (Nice try, honey.)
I don't expect my husband to ever do any less than he has always done. This past week he caught a nasty stomach bug that I thought might slow him down a bit, but I still found him out back mowing the lawn. (I told you he doesn't sit still.) And while our chat made me feel a million times better, I don't expect our newly reintegrated family to operate any differently than it does now. There will still be days that I am bored looking for something productive to do because my husband keeps doing the chores for me. (Go on...smack me again.) There will still be days where I feel frustrated that I have to consult someone else on what they want to eat for dinner that week. And I am sure that there will still be days where I feel a bit displaced as I try to relearn my role in this two-parent household. But we will find our groove...we always do.
And what's more, we have found that no matter how awkward this initial readjustment may be, we will come out of it a newer, stronger, better family. We survived the deployment. Surely we will survive the reunion!