Finding out about a deployment sucks, the deployments sucks like you wouldn't believe, but reintegration.........is hard, very hard and anyone who tells you it's all roses and wine isn't telling you the whole truth. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE having my husband home, I love that our family is whole again and that he is safe. We have a LOT of easy days, but man oh man, we have had quite a few that were WAY harder than I ever expected.
First lets start with the sleeping. I love having someone to share the bed with. However, I don't generally share the bed with him......because he doesn't sleep at night. His sleep is so screwed up that we generally share the bed for only about 2-3 hours a night. I feel so bad for him, because I don't know how to help him get some sleep at a "normal" time. He also falls asleep all.of.the.time. We will be watching TV after dinner, and boom.....he's out. I hate waking him because it's obvious he needs his sleep, but I know I cannot let him sleep all afternoon either. I would just like to be on the same or close to the same sleep schedule. It makes it hard for me to go to bed at a decent hour if he is wide awake when I want to go to bed.
Second, finding our routine. This one has proved to be the hardest thus far. Not only did he come home from a year long deployment (we were separated for 342 days total) I also went back to work the very next week. If I am honest, we don't have a routine yet. We need to find one quick though. I would like to get back to the gym and lose the 10lbs I've gained since he came home. :( But that cannot happen until we can find our balance and our routine. Also I think it will help us as a family to have a more constant routine. I know the kids act better when their schedules aren't interrupted or changed all of the time.
Third......my emotions. Oh lord. My emotions go from one extreme to another in a matter of seconds. I am so very excited and relieved to have him home and out of harms way. Trust me I am. But then I find myself getting worked up about the smallest, stupidest stuff and I'm not sure why. I find myself getting annoyed that he has fallen asleep on the couch, or that when Baby E starts crying he doesn't just jump up and make her a bottle. But then again why would he do that? He doesn't know the kids like I do anymore. He doesn't understand what Baby E wants because he doesn't know her like I do. That's the part that kills me too. He not only has to re-learn me, but he has to re-learn the kids too. The kids still come to me for everything. I have to ask them to ask daddy when I need his help, or ask him to do something.......we all know how much I love asking for help. There are moments I just want to cry and moments I am so happy I can't sit still.
My temper has been VERY short lately and I have no clue as to why. I am sure part of it is I haven't dealt with my emotions from when M was gone yet. They are still packed away, where I tucked them as I trucked on this past year. I have a tendency to do that. If I don't want to deal with the emotion or process it, I push it aside and tell myself I'll deal with it later. Yea, I haven't dealt with those days where fear grips you so hard that you literally cannot breath. Those moments when you are so afraid for your husband's life that you are stopped dead in your tracks. I haven't dealt with my fear of the possibility of losing him over there, and having no control over it. Not knowing if our conversation was our last one. I don't like those emotions or that amount of fear. It scared the crap out of me!
I have lost the ability to fully relax. When you are a single parent, you don't get a moment to yourself. You come home from work and it's dinner time, play with the kids, bath time, play time, bed time.....and by then you are so exhausted that you go to bed or get those last few housekeeping things done. I have taken time off for myself while M was gone, but I don't think I ever fully relaxed in that time. I don't know how to make myself not worry about the dishes or what has to be done next and just enjoy the quiet or the moment. How sad and crazy is that?
With M being in the Reserves we don't get a month off to just hang out and get reacquainted. We jump back into civilian life and my job. We didn't get that month to visit family or just be together. To go on dates and get to know each other again. We were thrust back into the real world with our children and real life and having to make time for each other, as well as the kids, again. It's hard. It's hard to leave in the morning, when all I want to do is spend time with him. I love the weekends when we can run errands together, or do something together, but those go by too quickly and Monday always rolls around. The balance between civilian life and army life gets tough at times.
Don't get me wrong, there are LOTS of great things about reintegration. I LOVE having him home to just be with. To have an adult to talk to at night, or at dinner is amazing. Not having to talk to him through a crappy skype connection is amazing. Being able to just reach out and touch him is AMAZING! I love that my best friend is back. Even if we have both changed and haven't found our routine together yet, I LOVE having him home. I LOVE watching him play with the kids and watching Baby E fall in love with her daddy. I LOVE having someone to share the raising of our children with.
I just wish more people were honest about how difficult reintegration can be. The sad thing is, I don't even think ours is that hard, I'm sure there are people out there having a worse time than us and my heart breaks for them. I think people need to remember that we still need to offer our support to our fellow Army spouses, even after the deployment is over. We still need support until life can resume again.
Has anyone else that has gone through reintegration dealt with any of this?