By Anita Doberman: PNT Columnist
My husband recently came back from a deployment. I was anxious to welcome him back home, and the days leading up to his arrival were filled with expectations and work.
I wanted to accomplish all the things on my to-do list, making everything and everyone appear as far from chaos as possible – our permanent state during this deployment – and get myself and our little troops to look our best. I wanted my husband home and the family back to normal as soon as possible.
But my list was too long. From my desire to remodel our entire home, clean the cars and garage, change the carpets, stock up on my hubby’s favorite food, get a haircut and makeover – there weren’t enough hours in the days left before his return to accomplish all this.
Everywhere, I saw something that wasn’t working and needed to be fixed— the new stains on the carpet, the marker spots left behind the girls’ door, the ice maker in the fridge that was broken. I even decided that my children’s hair needed some “fixing” but didn’t have time to get to the salon and gave them a haircut myself – they survived and still managed to look cute for their daddy.
The actual day of my husband’s arrival I was even more frantic.
I hadn’t finished my long list or fixed half of the things I wanted to repair.
I woke up at 5 a.m. to make sure I had enough time at least to clean the house one last time and get my children ready.
I had picked out matching outfits for all five of them, and once I put them on, I didn’t allow them to eat or move. But my children quickly got tired of waiting because, as often happens in the military, my husband’s arrival time was changed at least five times that morning. When we finally left the house, everyone was cranky and tired.
As I waited for my hubby to get off his plane, I tried to remain calm. After seeing several of the other wives’ husbands, I became agitated. Did something happen? Did he not get on the plane? They would have certainly notified me, right? I was panicking, when I finally caught a glimpse of a tall man walking slowly toward the crowd. Yes, that would be my husband, cool and calm as he always is. As he got closer, I couldn’t contain my happiness, and started yelling to the kids that their daddy was home. I felt tension melting away and forgot about my silly list.
He made it home. We hugged and kissed, and even though I promised myself I wouldn’t cry, when he picked up our youngest daughter, whom he hadn’t seen since a few days after she was born, I was overwhelmed with emotions.
For a moment, I was granted grace, and my own world was perfect.
My husband was safe and I couldn’t think of anything else I could possibly desire. Except for a few days later, when I tripped and fell on his desert gear, which had been left in the middle of our bedroom floor.
I guess things are back to normal faster than I thought.
Anita Doberman is a freelance writer, mother of five and wife of an Air Force pilot stationed at Hurlburt AFB in Florida. The family expects to be moving to Cannon Air Force Base in the next year. Contact her at: