It's been 1 week, but I've heard it can take weeks to fully recover. I've heard a lot of things.
"He'll forget where things are."
I did not believe this one, but it's truth. First day back, Hubs was opening all the cabinets in the kitchen looking for a glass.
They didn't say that I would forget where things are.
Hubs came out of the bathroom asking where his loofa and body wash were. Panic struck me. Going through my head ="I have no stinkin idea where I moved that?! Why did I move his loofa?! Poor guy can't even shower and he.needs.to.shower!"
No one warned me about the stink either.
Yikes. The stink. Again, poor Hubs. He washed his clothes before getting off the ship so I wouldn't have to worry about it. But when he got out his clothes, this stink filled our room. I panicked because I didn't want to hurt his feelings but I equally could not stand the smell. I finally broke the news to him and asked if I could rewash his clothes. He was gracious and admitted that he probably got used to whatever stench was on the ship. 4 washes later and it still stinks. 4 washes with heavy duty detergent and warm water and I'm no laundry expert, but something is very wrong.
"He'll want to jump in and help, but won't know how to, so give him one specific job to help him feel plugged in."
I followed this advice and set my expectations to continue doing everything and asked him to put 1 kid to bed at night. Pick a kid, any kid. I hate bedtime.
However, I found this to not be true for Hubs...or he hid it really well. I felt like he jumped in perfectly and wasn't hesitant to take over things just as he had before he left.
"He'll be very tired and just want to veg."
Also have not found this to be true, but I think it helps that we all went into vacation mode when he came home, so there wasn't really anything demanding high energy. He was used to talking with people all day, every day, so listening to "DADDY, DADDY, DADDY" wasn't too draining.
"He'll be very bossy."
Nope, but we don't really have that relationship where we tell each other what to do. Again, I feel like vacation mode may have helped this one too.
What has been the toughest?
I think Hubs would say it's been transitioning out of "lieutenant mode". He was in work mode 24-7 while on the ship and it's taken some time mentally unwind. Homecoming didn't lend a very smooth transition into civilian life. He walked off the ship and straight to his car and drove straight home. There wasn't time to say goodbye to his buddies or meet their families and there wasn't time to take one last look at the ship and say fairwell...maybe men don't do sentimental things like that.
He said that the biggest change he's noticed is Charlie's vocabulary and the amount of words that come out of his mouth. He does say some very funny things, so we have just spent a lot of time laughing at our spunky 3 year old.
|Charlie pushing daddy on the swing and cracking himself up|
I'm not sure I can put into words well what has been the hardest for me. When Hubs came home, we instantly clicked back to us and our family. I thought it would be different, but it wasn't...in a very good way. However, having our puzzle all put together again reminded me of what was missing.
Princess P said out of the blue one day, "You missed my birthday" and I was reminded of taking care of a sick girl as she turned 8 and trying to make her feel special all by myself.
We ran the trail and my shoes came untied for the bazillionth time and I started to complain about these stupid new running shoes. Hubs said the problem was that he didn't pick them out for me (trying to be funny, but he has this crazy good knack for buying good shoes for me) and tears instantly came to my eyes and all I could say was "You weren't here."
It's brought a time of mourning what was lost. Twofold to that, a mourning that I can never fully tell him what happened in our life while he was gone. Blogs and emails and short phone calls and even long conversations now, can't catch him up on all the little things.
Also hard for me is a completely selfish, maybe shouldn't share thing.
Hubs came home with a medal and several giant certificates to hang on the wall and a new pin for his uniform. He has pictures to share and everyone telling him "welcome home!"...which they should. He has tangible and emotional "goalposts" to say "you have completed deployment and you did a good job, congratulations!". I, however, feel invisible and like I'm expected to just move on like nothing happened.
The kids have adjusted amazingly well and I have been completely blown away by them. Princess P had the most beautiful peace about her the first few days; she was content and happy. Bubby immediately jumped into Hubs arms and clung to him without hesitation. Charlie just talked and talked and talked, telling Hubs about everything. My fear was that Princess P would get in a funky mood, not knowing where to fit in. We were also prepared for Bubby to take a few days to warm up and come out of his shell and I wasn't sure what Charlie would do...he likes to keep us on our toes, so I knew it would be a fun surprise.
Hubs has been so sweet and thoughtful this past week. It probably helps that he is the one giving reintegration training to the sailors, so he knows all the right things to say. But I'll take it. He took each one of us out for a special date and he's played so much Lego's with the boys that I've taken 2 naps this week! You can also thank this post to him, because he gave the kids a bath and read them books so I could write.
So what now?
Now I'm thankful we're done counting down days and I'm looking forward to a camping trip as a family next week. I have thought about sitting under the stars, in the mountains, for a long time now and I'm praying it brings the refreshment I have dreamt it would.