Back in June, we talked about how to emotionally survive a deployment for the first time. With every deployment comes the hope of a homecoming. Homecomings, though they can be the best part of a deployment, have their own challenges and unique difficulties.
As a new spouse you might have high expectations of what a homecoming should be, that’s the best way to set yourself up for failure. I think the first and only rule should be to EXPECT NOTHING, you’re saving yourself from a lot of hurt and disappointment if you can just go with the flow. Spending hours making welcome home signs, staying up late making sure everything is perfect at home and inviting everyone under the sun to greet your spouse when they land is great, but that’s not going to work in every situation. Imagine pouring your heart in soul in trying to create the perfect homecoming scenario to only find out your spouse really just wanted some fast food and a nap in their own bed. You might come out feeling crushed, which in turn could transform into anger and spill over onto your spouse. You haven’t seen your loved one in months, you don’t want your first moments to be clouded with confusion. In my opinion this can be avoided by keeping an open mind and relying on your intuition. Really listen to your spouse, you’ll be able to pick up clues.
It’s so easy for us to picture grand homecomings where everything is sunshine and rainbows! Who doesn’t want to have a “swept off your feet” moment in the middle of a crowded airport amidst a sea of people clapping and crying tears of joy? Every homecoming is different and your experience is not going to look like anyone else’s. Homecomings are like children, don’t compare them! Your spouse may be uncomfortable around crowds, noise, and confined spaces. They’re not always returned to us how they left us, give them time and space to readjust back to family life and their normal day to day responsibilities. And from personal experience I would like mention that bombarding them with questions probably isn’t the best road to take. I can’t help it, I am a curious person by nature and seek out knowledge wherever I can find it. My poor husband is too sweet to tell me otherwise, but I know me asking how everything smelled, looked and felt was a bit much. Yes, I was that annoying and probably resembled a yapping puppy. That teachable moment was brought to you by homecoming 2013! Think less annoying Chihuahua and more COOL CAT, you’ll be fine!
Homecomings are so very special and shouldn’t be taken for granted. You will never forget the feeling of wrapping your arms around the love of your life after being separated by distance and time for so long. They are home safe and that in itself is a time for celebration, so don’t stress too much about the other things. Enjoy your time together, let the world around you pause for a second and just be present, everything else will fall into place in time.
Spouses are an invaluable part of the team and together we are one.