Selling a house, hunting for a house, buying a house, and moving into a new house is probably not on any list of things to do immediately upon welcoming your husband home from a deployment. But it’s what we did.
This reintegration was hard on me. I hate admitting that, but it was. I spent the year in a very familiar routine. I Skyped with HabMoo in the morning while eating breakfast. I either walked in the morning or went to the gym. I usually ate lunch alone and fit my consulting work in wherever it was convenient. My free time was occupied by whatever I was moved to do at the moment I found myself without a task. I had to make sure to see other people a couple times a week.
I was not used to having someone around ALL THE TIME. He was in the kitchen when I was getting my breakfast. He was stopping in to tell me something while I was working. He was asking me questions. He was not saving up his stories for the morning. And our wedding vows have a clause which states that I must listen to him for at least 20 solid minutes every day. I was used to that being in the morning.
He was very good about getting right back into the swing of taking on his household responsibilities. He was also very understanding and accommodating when I’d tell him he needed to leave the house for 4 hours at a time. Thank god he has a huge ego and doesn’t entertain the idea that I might not love him because I wanted him to go away. He understands the introvert need. After all, he’d just spent months having to be one himself with 50 of his closest friends and enemies always in arms reach.
Communication and positive assumptions have been so important for us. Shortly after HabMoo returned to Kuwait after his leave we were talking about how hard is was to be apart again. I told him that while I had no opportunity or plans to cheat on him, that week I completely understood how cheating could happen. He responded by telling me that he’d noticed that the women he worked with and who he had been seeing only as fellow soldiers were now registering as women in his mind. Being away from the physical contact you get from a lover can be challenging. You don’t really want a new lover, you just want something more than what you have.
What else can I complain about? Oh yeah, not knowing what day he was actually coming home. I understand the how he can’t tell me what he doesn’t know, but I HATE NOT BEING ABLE TO PLAN. I like being in control as much as possible. This is one reason why I’ve never been able to drink or do drugs. The experience is sort of fun, but what if I need to suddenly recite the “Friends, Romans, countrymen” speech from Julius Caesar or perform CPR or multiply by 12?
Reintegration training was offered last Sunday and we went. The Yellow Ribbon does a very good job with their trainings. I’m a little tired of the suicide prevention one and I never want to sit through another explanation of TriCare, but the ones on resilience and other psychological tools are always helpful reminders. We attended a training on “icebergs” or what I call “core beliefs” and shared some of ours with each other. That was fun and gave us a little more understanding of each other. It did nothing for any lingering frustration I might have about HabMoo being around all the time, but after these 30+ days I’ve finally gotten over that on my own. (Plus he’s back to work during the days. Yes!)
Now I’m getting used to having someone helpfully remind me where I left my keys, help me with groceries, play board games and watch Mystery Science Theater movies with. I think I really love it. And I really love seeing him walk around in his shorts.