For the last six months, my husband has been deployed.
Here are the quick answers to the usual questions:
This is Charles' and my second deployment together, but our first with TJ. One important thing I learned from the last deployment is that the coming home can sometimes be just as difficult as the being gone. Last time, I thought everything would pick up right where we left off, like nothing had happened. Oh sweet, naive not-mom Christina.
A lot happens in six months. For us, this time, that included our child's second birthday. My leap into full(ish) time entrepreneurship. A dear friend's wedding. Potty training. Not to mention all of life's little moments that are too many to list.
So, no. Things don't just pick up where you left off. This return from deployment, we did a few things that have already helped make the transition smoother.
We traveled as a family and as a couple.
Our whole fam-damily packed up and went to the mountains. Two days later Charles and I went to New York City (our first trip together without the baby!). We all reconnected. We all unplugged (as much as possible). This was incredibly important even if it put me behind on my work... gulp.
TJ needed time alone with his dad. So one day just a couple days after he got back, Charles picked him up really early from school and they spent almost a full day alone together. TJ didn't skip a beat. This kid loves his dad and needed that time to be reminded of just that.
Does it surprise you that there are a ton of *feels* happening in our casa? Last deployment, Charles and I had barely been dating a year when he left an we just weren't as comfortable being honest with each other about how we felt like we are now. Five years and one kid will change that RULL QUICK. Talk. Be honest. Get it out.
There is no point trying to argue about who had it worse during the deployment— but for the record, if you ask me, Charles did. Being away from your child that long is not something I can even wrap my mind around. But you know what? It's all hard. We both did hard things the past six months and a little grace goes a long way.
I want to end with some important context that Charles would insist I include. Our family is incredibly blessed. So many men and women don't come home. So many veterans experience life changing wounds, both visible and invisible. I hope you'll take the time to learn a little about the Center of the Intrepid. An incredible organization dedicated to rehabilitating wounded warriors right here in San Antonio. Heroes helping heroes, y'all.
Hug your families and enjoy the holidays. I know we will.
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