By Anita Tedaldi: PNT columnist
My husband returned home for a short visit before taking off again.
I guess we should be used to the routine, the coming and going, and to the changes we adjust to, but each time I’m taken back by how tough it is, no matter the preparation and good intentions.
As with all of his homecomings, I always get the girls dressed in their best matching outfits, and we try to make the house spotless, organized and welcoming for my husband. We even bake the one cake I know how to make, blueberry pie, which truth be told, only requires blueberries and pie crust, but still it’s the thought that counts and my husband knows that.
We drive to the pick up location, be it at the airport or at the military base with much anticipation and end up waiting for a couple of hours because the plane is inevitably late. But the long wait is always forgotten as soon as we see him get off his plane and walk toward us. The excitement is palpable everywhere around us.
I always tell myself that the honeymoon face I experience, is always followed by a period of adjustment in which we fight and try to find a way to work together as a team. This time things are harder because we only have a few weeks before he has to leave again.
No matter how many times I remind myself that I need to be patient with myself and with my husband, and understand that we need to give each other space I always expect things to be perfect right off the bat. I know that my husband is more withdrawn when he returns from his deployments and that I’m all over the place but I hate the discomfort of the first few weeks when we try to find each other again.
Many military families go through these difficulties when re-adjusting to life together, and I think we all hope that things can get back to ‘normal’ as soon as possible.
This time I really wanted to avoid the usual fight about ‘you don’t know what’s it’s like when you’re gone’ and ‘I’m not criticizing you just trying to get back into the swing of things.’ But we didn’t avoid it and it took us a couple of days to finally come to terms with the fact that a period of discomfort is inevitable when it comes to military living.
So this time after we started our fights we accepted that we were having a hard time communicating and left it at that. We didn’t stop talking or trying to come to an agreement, we realized that there was so much we were trying to tell each other, so much that we were feeling (ok my husband won’t admit to feelings so I guess he was thinking and I was feeling) that it was inevitable to disagree.
While I was disappointed about our difficulties, I realized that open communication is what will always keep our marriage strong.
That and my unbelievable cooking.