Well, I’ve been home from Europe for about seven weeks now. The first few weeks of being back were spent doing “reintegration.” Which for us was essentially classes, a physical, and leave.
It’s hard to describe what coming home feels like. Surreal. Joyful. Anxious. Stepping off the bus at Fort Stewart and knowing my wife and kids were on the other side of the brigade headquarters building was a bit like walking in a dream. I say all this knowing I was only gone for four months while many were gone 5-6 and a typical combat deployment is around 12 months.
Still, a lot changed in the four months I was gone. Laura and the kids developed routines and habits that kept the house functioning. Our youngest who was just a few weeks old when I left was a smiley and drooly five month old when I returned. A lot of the things that I had normally done Laura had taken over in my absence.
The Army warns Soldiers returning from deployment that there will be some hiccups upon returning. We encountered a few and are still working through some. I share this because I think folks, perhaps especially those who have been married for awhile and have strong marriages, expect a smooth homecoming free of any friction. Well, there will be some friction and that’s okay. While I was gone Laura had to function solo and suddenly being a team again means we have to spend some time practicing to get everything back in sync. Some things will fall back into place easily and naturally. Other things will take more time and patience. Just remember to be understanding and patient with each other as you figure out what your new normal is going to look like.