I'm sure at this point, most are wondering how the last couple months have transpired in our Mom-dom. Lt Hubby is home and recuperating! And for one brief moment...things went our way. He actually surprised me just before the 4th of July...very romantic...very much a relief...and very much a page of our journey turned. I should have realized that a crap storm was headed our way...the foreshadowing of events-to-come was all too blaringly obvious.
Of course the reunion of soldier and family is romanticized...and for that moment; when they are finally holding you, kissing you gently, and sharing a sigh of relief; it truly is romantic, whimsical, exciting and overwhelming. But the reality is that many times post-deployment and reintegration is just as hard and painstaking as the actual deployment itself...only in a very different, isolated way. Most people have no idea what happens when the soldier returns, and quite frankly, I think it is the unspoken secret that we all keep hidden behind closed doors. The romantic, happily-ever-after is much more fun -and comfortable- to believe.
I can't speak to any other military family's experience...except for my own. I only know what I know. For me, change is not easy. Months before my soldier leaves, a transition happens in our home...I became the highest ranking officer and sole decision maker out of necessity, and this go around, I remained the commander in chief for longer than intended. But their is no manual as to how to behave, feel, and transition when that title is taken from you. It's a hard adjustment to say the least...one in which I don't always gracefully and successfully accomplish. As I've mentioned before, my hubby married a strong, stubborn, headstrong, mule of a woman...and sometimes, I feel really badly for him that I'm the one that he got stuck with.
I wish I could say that things just "go back to normal"...but there is no normal anymore. The normal my boys and I knew was mommy in charge and one conversation with daddy a week; a conversation that was all fun and games via the blessing of Skype. The normal we knew before the deployment no longer exists for us...I mourned the loss of pre-deployment Mom-dom a long time ago. It never really is the same after an event such as this.
So the adjustments, changes, and challenges are ever present and sometimes painstaking and slow. I very often feel all alone. When my soldier came home, my friends and support all kind of....left. I'm sure most wanted to give us time and space...which, of course, is very much appreciated. But this- this new "normal"- is just as hard. The world didn't get any lighter; the weight of my load just shifted.
As if the changes of welcoming Lt Hubby home wasn't enough, we've been dealt a really hard hand of cards lately. What we thought was one tough hurdle to conquer...became two. Sometimes the weight and magnitude and possible outcome choke the breath right out of me. I'm scared a lot; I cry quietly in the closet, or the laundry room, or as I'm taxiing kids to and from.
Reality has never seemed so real...or unfair...or scary...or uncertain. But still...life goes on...