Horatio got two weeks of leave and came home to visit us.
It was a great family reunion when we surprised him at the airport with a Welcome sign. The boys were elated to have their daddy home, for sure, and I was thrilled to have my husband home.
As you can imagine, it was wonderful to have two weeks of family time. Horatio busied himself spending time with each of the boys. He played chess with Zack, Ket with Dwight, Legos with Bob and read books with Harold.
He was here for the first day of school for each of the boys and was able to meet the elementary school teachers and preschool teachers.
It is not all fun and games, though, when a deployed service member visits or returns from a long absence. When a spouse is used to handling everything solo, new routines have been established and each partner is used to having things “just so” it can get tricky when worlds collide.
Reunions such as ours have to be handled delicately by both partners. The military member has to tread lightly, remembering that his/her spouse has been handling things well while he was away. Even if things are not exactly as he remembers them or wants them to be, he should take some time to think about whether or not it is worth speaking up. Likewise, it is the same for the spouse at home. If the returning spouse doesn’t do things the way he/she has been doing them for the past 6 months, she should take a breath and consider if it is important enough to speak up.
Bedtimes are changed leading to less kid-free time in the evening? The returning spouse should remember that 6 months is a long time in the life of a kid and needs change and bedtimes shift.
Returning spouse uses the wrong towels or the wrong pot or can’t remember how to use the coffee maker? Is it really a big deal? Probably not.
Of course, when the return is permanent, husband and wife cannot go on walking on eggshells forever, but gradually speaking up, in a thoughtful way, is prudent. If the reunion is temporary, it is rarely necessary to speak up and the ensuing argument that might result is rarely worth it.
So, of course there were a few hiccups, little disagreements over little things, but the visit was really great and we can’t wait for the next one… Whenever that may be.