About Me

Fort Bragg, NC, United States
I'm a stay at home dad raising four beautiful children. I am the proud spouse of an Army Lieutenant Colonel. I do my best to keep up with the kids and all of their activities. I enjoy playing the bass and the occasional bass guitar building project. You can follow me on twitter if you so desire...@ArmySpouse007.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Redeployment and Reintegration Part 3: The new reality

Two weeks have gone by since my wife stepped off the plane and returned to our lives. These two weeks have been among the most amazing and wonderful of our marriage. For those who have never gone through a deployment, you'd be hard pressed to grasp how great it is to finally have our family be whole again. Life is good.

However, (and, it seems there is always a 'however') the new reality of our lives has definitely taken some getting used to. There haven't been any times (so far) where things became unpleasant. That's not what I'm talking about here. This new reality of our lives is more about coming to grips with a change in lifestyle. Let me explain. For the last year, the kids and I have lived, existed, even thrived on our own. True, we did talk to Devon nearly every day, and we were able to Skype more or less once a week. Still, that doesn't change the fact that she's been gone and we've been here. And a year is a VERY long time when it comes to routines and habits.
A great example of this is our nights here. When my wife left over a year ago I remember looking over at the empty place next to me and thinking of how much I hated what was going on. Then, gradually, over time, I got used to it and generally didn't notice any more. As humans, we simply grow accustomed to changes in our lives and that becomes our reality. Now, she's home and there's someone sleeping next to me in our bed. And once again I'm faced with a change in circumstances. Bad... no. Weird... yep. Before I had the whole bed to myself. Now, I have half of the bed, and usually even less than that! Again, this is not a bad thing at all, just different and it's going to take some getting used to.

I guess the truth of it all is I just feel a bit bewildered at times. I find myself trying to come to grips with all of the changes that are taking place around me. The kids are doing great and are so thrilled to have their mother home. Remember, though, that children are far more adaptable and resilient than adults are. And that's my issue.

I was sitting with my wife two or three days ago and I confessed to her that I simply couldn't just relax and let my guard down, not completely. I have this feeling, though I can't really pinpoint where it is coming from, that having her home is only temporary. It simply doesn't feel permanent (or, as permanent as can be reasonably expected in the Army...). Even now I struggle to put these feelings into words. The joy of having her home is indescribable. At the same time, though, it just doesn't seem real. It all feels out of place. Maybe I was expecting things to be like they were before she left. Maybe I thought we'd pick back up right where we left off. But there's no escaping the fact that a year has gone by and things have changed. I've changed and so has she. Parts of our "old" relationship have returned. Other parts are new. Some things are renewed, some are gone forever.

So, as thrilling as it is to have her home, the normal everyday living is anything but normal right now. And there's no escaping this disorienting feeling inside. At times everything feels just great, like all is right in the world. Other times, there's a strong feeling of something being out of place without being able to tell what it is. And while I wouldn't change this for anything, it is confusing at times.

The truth of it is this: we are now living in a new reality. And this probably wouldn't have been so difficult if these changes could've occurred slowly over time. But the fact that one day she was gone and the next she was home means swift change has come. And getting used to the changes takes time. You see Reintegration is just about a soldier coming home and finding his/her place. It is also about those of us back home who've carried on for the last year including them back into our lives. As I said in my last blog: reintegration is NO JOKE. Many spouses find this transition difficult. And just because you love each other doesn't make it any easier. It is still going to be hard. But as each new day comes and goes the new reality begins to take hold. Soon, this new reality will just be reality, and reintegration will be complete. Welcome home! We're glad you're here!

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3 comments:

  1. It took me a few months to get used to The Hubble being home. Now it's hard to remember that he was ever gone. We do adapt and get used to things but it takes work and time. I hope your reintegration goes as smoothly as possible!

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  2. beautiful blog..pls visit mine and be a follower.. thanks and God bless..

    http://forlots.blogspot.com/

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  3. Tim,
    I so understand what you are saying as Michael has just got back and we are starting the reintregration of him back into "Normal" life. It seems so unreal that he is finally home so much that I have to touch him to make myself know that he is here! Welcome Home, Devon! Hope that you are having a great time with Tim and the kiddos! Take Care. Heidi

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