I think homecoming is played up to be this big beautiful event (especially with all the new TV shows) and while I think it is... date, time, and location changes are bound to happen. Or in my case you find out your husband's unit will be returning in, oh, four days. Yes I literally got word on a Friday that he would be back on Tuesday. But homecoming isn't actually what I'm here to talk about, although I guarantee ours was different than most seeing as they returned in a small detachment (27 men) and all in civilian clothing - the same way they left. I don't have any "magical" photos of my husband in uniform. I actually get questions about our d-day and homecoming photos because other Marines from the unit were there to see them off and welcome them home, so our friends/family were confused as to why my husband and his guys are the ones in "normal people" clothing, haha! Oh the life of a specialized unit!
Anyway, after my tangent, I am here to talk about re-integration aka: learning to live together after time spent apart. I got used to doing everything- bills, car issues, laundry, chores, legal items, etc. I figured he's off defending the country I can manage things here at home (not saying I did everything gracefully, or happily all the time). A week after he returned I was doing the dishes after the dinner that I prepped and cooked and he gently grabbed the pot I was scrubbing and looked me in the eyes and said: "Honey, I remember how to do dishes."
It's not that I thought he forgot how to put soap on a sponge and run hot water over pots & pans. Or that he couldn't get the mail, help cook dinner, etc. I was just used to doing it my way.
I went to bed when I wanted.
I ate what I want, when I wanted to.
If the girls called at 8:45pm asking if I wanted to head down to DQ, 9 out of 10 times I said yes.
I watched the TV shows I wanted.
Rented movies I knew I would like.
Cleaned the house in a certain order.
I made checklists for everything to make sure things got paid in a timely manner.
After the dishes situation, I let him "help out" around the house. I mean he does live here! We ran into some issues with him saying he would do something and me coming home later and the trash was still full stinking up the kitchen, or the cable bill was still sitting unpaid on the desk. No huge arguments, just figuring out the system all over again. Who does what exactly.
I think the biggest thing I had to work thru was me feeling like I wasn't needed. While I was doing everything around the house, I felt like I could be invisible at times. He was still re-adjusting to our time zone, not sweating to death in the middle of a jungle, getting to sleep in a bed and not on a piece of plywood, no longer having to do night watch every 3hrs, and instead of understanding that he needed time to decompress... I just felt ignored. One day he asked me what was wrong and I started crying and said "I feel like all I do is cook and clean for you." As soon as it came out of my mouth I wanted to take it back... what a horrible thing to say to your husband that just came home! We had a long discussion and things were eventually resolved.
We're still settling in one month later, he is getting placed in a new division of his unit so things are up in the air at work, but at least I know that his toothbrush will be in the holder, probably some stinky boot socks crumpled up on the floor- that I will remind him once again to put in the hamper - but most importantly he'll be in the bed beside me at night!