After nine months and six days of separation, my husband and I are back together. He’s home.
The way people keep congratulating me and asking me how we are doing, I feel a bit like a newlywed again. I’m sure we look like honeymooners too right now the way we still feel compelled to hold hands and sit close to one another.
It’s amazing how much more connected you feel to someone when you can have a face-to-face conversation instead of communicating through instant messaging and phone calls.
This was our second deployment together — his third — and it’s amazing how resilient I’ve become without even noticing. I did the math and of the time we’ve had at Fort Hood, he’s spent more than 40 percent of it away on deployment or training.
Somewhere in the midst of all this, we’ve gotten good at dealing with change, separation and getting reacquainted with each other.
I’m proud to say that during his homecoming ceremony I didn’t fall apart as the buses pulled up. I didn’t cry when we found each other among the hundreds of people on Cooper Field. I held it together.
We’ve had nearly a week together and we are slowly learning how to live in the same space again. I’m learning to deal with the constant background noise of ESPN, and he’s remembering where we keep everything. I’m also readjusting to how much grocery shopping is required to keep enough food around for him.
There also was a lot of relief with his return. His time in the Army is winding down, and there is comfort in knowing we don’t have to do this again. I don’t have to say goodbye to my husband for months at a time anymore.
Knowing that we have more than 12 months together before he’s off again is an amazing and beautiful feeling. I feel relaxed, like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders and my heart.
There’s a sign I see often at craft fairs and local events that states, “Live today like he deploys tomorrow.”
I hate that sign. Every time I see it I cringe. Predeployment for me is stress and anxiety. I think it should be reversed. We should remember to live in this feeling of bliss, of being reunited and filled with the prospect of tomorrow, not the dread of separation.
I hope for my fellow Army spouses that the closure of the war in Afghanistan means they too can stop living with expectation of pending deployment and bask in the happiness of return.