Thursday, October 29, 2015
I haven't always done my best in making sure Michael was welcomed home. Of course I was happy to have him back and on the edge of my seat every second that lead to his return. But did my actions and attitude really welcome him?
The first week is always the exciting phase. I'm relieved that he has returned to us safely. They kids are happy that daddy is home. He is happy to be around us and family again because he has missed us all. By the second week, I think I become less accommodating. I go back into my freakish work schedule. For anyone who doesn't know me personally, I work multiple jobs. Not all of them are full time. I have multiple part-time and PRN positions to accommodate the crazy life we live. I may only work 1-2 shifts per job, per week, if even that. I need flexibility. I also homeschool our kids. Previously, the kids were in private school and I was 85% responsible for shuttling them to and from school. The other 14% went to my best friends who would drop off or pick up the kids for me from time to time and 1% went to the fat chance that Michael had at being able to do it. I would also give up on making sure the house was sparkly clean and inviting. He's home now. This messy house is what I've been dealing with the entirety of his deployment!
At this point, I'm also less accommodating with the way I feel toward him. I don't feel as if I have to be extra super specially nice anymore. This is reality! I'm exhausted! But without fail, he comes home with a mopey look on his face and plops right into his worn out recliner. The kids run to him and want to share exciting news or show off art projects or good grades. He gets mad because he's just gotten home. Please!!! Where was my minute to just plop down on the couch and close out the world! I don't have that! I rarely get to have a "screw it!" moment because I'm so busy making sure everything and everyone is okay.
What I have come to realize is that mentally and emotionally, I've become stronger than him. My heart is more resilient. His mental and emotional well-being have been broken down and are under attack. Physically, he is just as strong as before, if not stronger. He is the baddest jar opener around! But after he has returned to work, he loses that will to survive and goes into a will of automation. He doesn't try extra hard to make sure he makes it out of there alive where as that was his daily goal while down range. His goal now is to not be noticed, don't flip out on his superiors, and ride the clock until they get released.then he comes home to find solace in his chair and a warm meal on the stove. Oh yeah, and the wife and kids. Heaven forbid we actually have plans or I spark a random outing on him! He gets mad when I decide things last minute. He needs time to mentally prepare for it. If you ask him how his day went, be ready for whatever answer that comes out of his mouth. Don't counter it with, "well, do you know what I had to deal with today?!" That isn't going to help and will make matters worse. Simply say "I'm sorry it was so rough for you. Is there anything I/we can do to make the rest of it any better?"
You may be feeling as if the above advice is a little on the subservient side. My feelings on that are, you're a little right. But my goal is to make my husband feel welcomed home. You've already welcomed him home when he set foot on Anerican soil (besides layovers in other states). Now it is time to make sure he is welcomed home again and again. Wouldn't the same feelings and emotions of excitement and joy from his initial homecoming be awesome every day? I'm not saying every day will be this big, joyful event. I'm only saying, find and bring joy into your daily lives that may not have been present before.
My thoughts: Now, I'm not saying "let the man get away with being a blob!" Give him a moment to gather himself and turn off "work mode" in his brain. Try to let him know if you have plans as a family ahead of time so he can ready himself, however that may be. Slowly integrate him back into the hustle and bustle you call daily life. Yes, it's work, but it helps in lowering the chances of arguments and misunderstandings.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, my patience is being tested and I need he strength to remain firm yet accommodating. I know he can't help the way he feels. Help me to understand his thoughts and know his needs so that I may help meet those needs or find a way to get them met. Help our family to be mindful of each other as You have been to us. In your name, I pray, amen.