I always forget just how hard reunions are until I'm smack in the middle of one.
Each time my husband returns from a deployment, I tell myself that this time will be different. This time we'll ease into the transition. This time we'll communicate better. This time I won't read into his every expression and comment.
Yet every time he returns to me after months apart, it is hard.
This time was especially hard.
I don't know if it is because his jet lag was especially bad. Or if it is because the kids are older. Or if it is because this deployment was different from the others he's been on. Or if it is because I struggled through this deployment more than any other. Or maybe it is even because he made closer friends on this deployment than ever before.
Whatever the reason, it has been very hard.
And I didn't exactly start it off with a bang either.
This time, because he deployed alone, he came home on a commercial flight. His commander and a few of his friends wanted to meet us at the airport to welcome him home. As well-intentioned as this was, I would really have preferred to greet him in private. This was to be his first homecoming where we wouldn't have to hide from news cameras. (I hate that the media uses us to make a nice headline for themselves.)
In the end, his friends weren't able to make it. But his commander was there.
And it's a good thing, because I wasn't there!
He had made it to the airport in Baltimore early enough to catch an earlier flight home. So, I had to quickly pick my daughter up from school to make it to the airport on time.
As I was ready to leave the house, my son announced that he had already pooped in his pants. Ten minutes later, we were out the door.
When I got to my daughter's class, I hoped to be in and out as quickly as possible. But her classmates had made a Welcome Home banner (adorable), and I had to talk with them about it.
I thought I might still make it on time. I jumped on the highway. I only had to go up one exit to jump on the next highway. And then I saw the Detour signs. The ramp was closed. I had to go up an exit and use back roads to get to the airport.
The kids and I raced into the terminal. Just as I entered the door, I spotted my husband and his commander waiting by the baggage claim. And my cell phone started to ring.
So I waved and his commander caught sight of me.
The kids ran up to him for hugs and kisses. And I got mine too.
Then I had to thank his commander for meeting him. "Well, one of us had to," was his jocular reply.
Nice, huh? Four months and 11 days, and I can't even meet him on time.
And the sad thing is that this isn't the first time this has happened! I'm never late. What's the deal with that?
Anyway, he's been home for five full days now, and things are finally better. We did some normal, everyday things together today and it was nice.
I have to admit that I talked to a friend last night, and it helped immensely. I knew that I was projecting my insecurities onto him, but to have someone call me on it, made a huge difference. I woke up this morning with a new attitude.
And soon I'll be getting my much-needed break.
Since Patrick blogged about it today, I guess I can share. (Sheesh. I haven't even told my parents yet.) About a month ago, my husband insisted that when he got home and had leave time to watch the kids, that I would take a trip to see Patrick.
I am really excited. I'll be helping him move and having fun. And my kids will get Daddy all to themselves for a few days.
Now I have a day and a half to launder every piece of clothing I own and strategically pack. What does a straight woman wear to a gay bar? How about a gay bar filled with foam? Could I be farther out of my element?
And when I get back home, we'll get to do the reunion thing all over again, this time sans PMS and jet lag. And with a lot more sex.
Because if you're going to do a reunion, you should do it right.