When my husband deployed for Iraq back in October I noticed how fragile I was about everything during that stage. I hated being reminded of his absence by finding his socks under the bed or his clothes still coming through the laundry. His voice on the answering machine was not to be erased! The soap in the shower disappeared a couple weeks later and I thought-how sad, this was a bar of soap we once shared. How pathetic is that? I disliked being around people who knew he had just left because of the sympathetic/uncomfortable looks in their eyes, and mine. When something came up that he usually handled, it made me angry that now I was going to have to figure something else out, or (heaven forbid) ask someone for help. I was/am also a big baby at night. I was scared by every house creak or the bark of a neighborhood dog. Sleep didn't come easy. In reality I never have adjusted well to sleeping at night, but it has improved.
Thankfully most of that phase passed quickly. I found myself doing things I never thought I had the chops for before. I found that I could call on people for help when I got in over my head and not be embarrassed. I figured out which people I could rely on without having the feeling that they were put out. I also found those who were less able to take on the task of both helping and making me feel at ease over the situation. That has been a bit of a lesson to me. A lesson in how to make someone feel when serving them. For example, don't say "Geez! Did you have to pick out a puppet theater with so many parts?!" While being a Santa's helper on Christmas Eve.... Just off the top of my head. So glad I know how to let things roll off my back and not think about them any more.
The things I have used to mark off time have been weird. I am a dental hygienist and as such, I know that you should replace your toothbrush every 3 months. True! So when I got to replace our toothbrushes I knew we were really gettin somewhere. I would look at my new toothbrush and think, 'this is the toothbrush I will be using when T gets home'. Isn't that a great milestone!? Oh, and you know the pink stuff that accumulates in the shower on the curtain (if you have a cloth one especially)? Well I washed mine a while back and thought there will not be enough time for that pink stuff to build up again before T gets home! Happy days! We've also made our paper chain to help us mark off the time. But I couldn't make it until it was down to about 100 days because it was too depressing before that.
The Army makes you go through this debriefing process and gives families all kinds of warnings as to how difficult the readjustment phase after a deployment can be. I really wouldn't have expected this otherwise I don't think. Now it has me grinding my teeth at night. Sigh! You should expect about a weeks worth of adjustment for every month the deployed soldier was absent, before expecting things to be back to 'normal'. This unknown adjustment phase really has been on my mind lately. While I love my husband and obviously want him back, will I be bothered that I have to share a master bathroom again? Will I show him the dings on the rear view mirror? Or the receipt for my Miracle Suit? What will baby girl's reaction be? She has spent almost a quarter of her life away from him now. Will we fight about the way I have been doing things? Will he object to the Cheerios I have been serving up for dinner? Can he share me with my new blogging obsession? I guess only time will tell. All I know is that the zit on my chin better clear up in the next four days, and I need to buy a big spool of large yellow ribbon for the willow tree outside. What a great stage to be in : )
ps: can anyone tell my why in the last 5 minutes since I published this post I have had so many internationals log on and read? This has me a bit freaked out!