Saturday, February 5, 2011
The house is clean, some of his favorite meals are stocked in the freezer and his welcome home sign is up in the front yard. We're getting so close to the moment I've been thinking about for the past 7 months - that moment that when times have been tough, has helped me to get through. This is our third homecoming in four years, so I feel like I know what to expect. But it's that knowledge that makes me nervous.
For those of you who have gone through a homecoming, you know that there's a lot of build-up to the event and then a whole lot of adjustment that happens for many months afterward. I've done a few posts on our adjustment when Joel came home from Iraq in 2007. You can read Part I here and Part II here, if you're interested. I'll just say that the adjustment was tough.
So, I know going into this homecoming that we'll have an adjustment time - a time when Joel needs to slowly step back into his position as husband and father. He'll need time to adjust to how things have been handled while he's been away. He'll have to get caught up on all that's happened with family and friends over the last 7 months. And I'll need to adjust to having my partner back with me. I've handled all the parenting, finances, house decisions, car decisions, and goings-on with family and friends. I've mentioned before that I'm a bit of a control-freak - very much a Type A personality. So, as hard as it's been to be the one to handle everything at home while Joel's been deployed, I've been able to do it all my way. There have been no negotiations, no conversations, no arguments - whatever I felt was best at the time, was the law of the land.
There will be a time of giving up some of that control. And it'll be hard for me. I know myself well enough, and I will think that when Joel asks "why" I did something, that he's really judging my decision making, rather than just trying to understand why I chose to do something a certain way. I'm going to have to let go of my own will and learn yet-again, to partner with Joel in this awesome blessing called marriage.
We'll also have some adjustments getting back into sync with one another. For the past 7 months, our marriage has consisted solely on email and phone calls. Most of the topics we discussed were light-hearted and encouraging. We told each other "I love you" probably a thousand times or more. Nothing too-serious was ever discussed. I'm happy that our marriage was incredibly strong when he left in July. I'm counting on that to be a good place to build from. But it's going to take some time to learn about each other after I know we've both done a lot of growing. Because I know how bad a marriage can get from a deployment, part of me is scared. I never want to get to that point again. I never want our marriage to get so out of sync that the D word enters my mind.
I've asked a few close friends to start praying; that God would protect our marriage and that Joel and I would be patient and gentle with one another as we adjust to married life and family life together with our girls. There will be some awkward moments. But I pray that that awkwardness will quickly subside and that we're able to get back into the groove of married life.
Right now I still have a few things on my to-do list... those things keep me focused and strong, even though my body, mind and heart are tired. I can't wait to leave for the airport and see him walking through those doors. Most of all, I can't wait for him to come back home.