Thank you so much Mrs. S for having me as a guest again!
Reintegrating Roller Coaster Style
We all know that sending our husbands off on a deployment is a huge adjustment. And most of us have learned that homecomings also involve a unique set of adaptations. Well it seems I have a knack for making those reintegration readjustments even more complicated by throwing my own personal life changes into the mix.
When my husband returned from his first deployment, my visions of romantic first kisses, cheek-numbing smiles, joy-filled tears, rib-breaking hugs, and repeated I love you’s all came true. As we cuddled in bed together that first night, I truly believed that everything would magically fall back into place and we’d pick up where we left off 6 months earlier. And I was crushed when that didn’t happen.
I kept telling myself that my husband wasn’t the same person he was when he left, that I didn’t know how to talk to him anymore. But somewhere along the line I realized that I wasn’t the same person either, that maybe he didn’t know how to talk to me. When the deployment started, I was a naïve new mom of a 6-month-old. I had just started my student teaching, only a semester away from graduating with my master’s degree. But by the time the deployment ended, my graduation had come and gone, and I was a stay-at-home mom with little adult interaction or intellectual stimulation. I was still trying
to adjust to my transition from full-time student to full-time Domestic Engineer when I suddenly had to learn how to be a full-time wife again. My life had completely changed since the last time I saw my husband.
Flash forward 6 years later to another deployment. This time around we were older and wiser. We both knew what to anticipate before, during, and after the deployment, and I dialed down my homecoming expectations. But I realized that once again, I was coping with another major transition in my own life that coincided with Mr. Roller Coaster’s reintegration. The first time around I was transitioning from student to full-time mom. This time, I was transitioning from full-time mom to working mom.
In a way, the timing couldn’t have been worse. I mean, this was a major lifestyle change for me, and I was doing it in the midst of reintegration when everyone was trying to figure out life as a family again. How was I supposed to reconnect with my husband when I was going through my own identity crisis? How would he feel returning to a wife who suddenly had a different schedule and different priorities than what he was used to?
But in a way, the timing was perfect. We had to get to know each other again anyway. Why not start the introductions with the new me? And I felt that being honest and opening up to Mr. Roller Coaster about my fears and anxieties toward joining the working world again helped to open up the lines of communication that had grown a little rusty during the deployment. Sometimes all you need is a simple conversation starter, and once the words start flowing, they take on a life of their own.
Readjusting to life after a deployment is always a bit tricky, regardless of whatever else may be going on in your life. Men and women have to learn how to be man and wife again after months of living apart. But with a little bit of time, a little bit of patience, and whole lot of humor, normal life does resume. And in the meantime, you get to fall in love with each other all over again.
Now I wonder what my next major life change will for the next deployment. Maybe best-selling author? (Hey a girl can dream right?)