I’m glad to be stepping in with a guest post while the Princess and Little Miss Diva are enjoying Big Daddy’s company during R & R. She asked me to write about the biggest change with my husband being home. OccDoc, my husband, just returned home from a seven month deployment to Afghanistan where he served as a battalion surgeon. It was his first deployment, but definitely not the first time we’ve been separated for many weeks/months. He got home at the end of February, took leave until April, and just started back at work at his normal duty station. I also took leave for the month of March and went back to work, but I work as a massage therapist, so it really doesn’t count as actual ‘work’.
Anyway, biggest change? As weird as it sounds there wasn’t really a big change, just lots of little ones. Of course, if you ask OccDoc the same question he’ll rattle off a list so fast your head would spin, but, uh, he just spent seven months sleeping in a desert with camel spiders as pets (just kidding they weren’t pets) while I spent seven months sleeping in our bed with Chihuahuas and house rabbits as pets. The biggest change for me is instead of just putting on my shoes, grabbing my house key, popping on my iPod, and heading to the park for a run and/or walk I have to ask OccDoc if he wants to go with me THEN put on my shoes THEN get the house key THEN pop on my iPod. See? Small change.
I’m beginning to wonder when this reintegration thing gets challenging. I had no problem handing over the reins and letting OccDoc pick up his household chores again when he was ready. The Chihuahuas still don’t listen to either one of us, so no change there. I’ve given OccDoc space and time to tell his story; I haven’t sat him down and grilled him about deployment. Okay, maybe I grilled him about how some of my care packages went over, but that’s it. Has he gotten on my nerves? Uh, duh, of course he has! But, seriously, he got on my nerves before he deployed and WHILE he was deployed, so no real change there.
We are really fortunate that OccDoc has handled being back so well. I know he saw some pretty gruesome stuff and some of the missions he went on got hairy and scary. I’m not sure if being a doctor helped him with this. As a medical student and resident he also saw some pretty gruesome stuff roll into the ER and trauma wards he worked in. Maybe he was just desensitized to it. I’m not sure. Though warts and poison ivy still gross him out and can turn his stomach.
For me, well, I lived alone for years before I even met OccDoc, so I think we got over all of our ‘reintegration’ issues when we first moved in together over 5 years ago. We learned (the hard way) back then that we needed to communicate, because neither of us could read minds…yet. Imagine that. We had to share what we were feeling (i.e. what was pissing us off) with each other so the other one could modify their behavior to better suit their partner. When OccDoc got back from deployment it felt like we were picking up right where we left off.
I guess there have been some negative changes like the mountain of dishes in the sink every stinking day. And I have to fold man underwear. And there are twice as many shoes to trip over when I’m carrying the groceries in. And sometimes I have to wait to get into the good bathroom (we have two bathrooms in our house, but I only like the one upstairs). And occasionally when I go to get water out of the fridge the water pitcher is empty. And my car is often returned to me with my low fuel light glaring at me.
But do the negative changes outweigh the positive? Like sometimes the laundry basket of clean clothes gets magically folded and put away before I get to it. Or my coffee is poured and prepared for me while I’m straightening my hair. Or on a few occasions the kitchen countertops have been wiped down and the mountain of dishes moved to the dishwasher without me lifting so much as a finger. Or someone is around to turn off the basement light and I don’t have to get out of bed. Or there is actually a warm body next to me in said bed. Yeah, having a warm body next to you, I think that takes the cake and outweighs all the negative.