He's back!  The world is right again.  The kids are happy, I'm happy, life is good....

For a few days anyway......We have done this reintegration thing 3 times.  This time is our 4th time.  I thought we had it down pat.  I was wrong.  Hubby came home and all was good for 4 whole days.  Then it hit, the rough patch came and it threw me for a loop.  What the heck?  We are old hats at this. Typically we don't even fight, and we especially don't fight  4 days after Hubby gets home from war.  What is going on in my perfect little world?  I am crushed, not only were we fighting, but it was so bad I was ready to send him back to Afghanistan and I'm serious.  Girl was so upset that when I went to tuck her in she was crying and begging me to stop fighting with her Daddy - she didn't sleep much that night and neither did I.  What were we fighting about you ask? Stupid shit.  Seriously.  Stupid S H I T.  He felt like I did too much while he was gone and that I was too controlling (HELLO - I've been the only adult here for a year, yes, I'm controlling and while you were away did you forget I am Type A?).  I hated that he came home and went straight to work on the house - cleaning out stuff and trying to take charge when all I wanted him to do was sit back and hang out with me and the kids.  I wanted him to have a little down time, relax and have fun!  I wanted to stare at him, touch him and savor the moments.   What is wrong with him I thought - why doesn't he want to spend every second with his family?  I was hurt and crushed and quite honestly I wasn't being very nice about it. 

That is when I had to take a look at myself and remember a few things:
1. - He is the boss at work. When he tells the children what to do, they look at me to make sure it is OK and then I give them the nod.  This can't be a good feeling for him.   
2. - He has been living by himself for 1 year.  Seriously, think about that.  He has lived by himself for 1 year, and then he is thrown back into this crazy life of 4 kids, a wife and a dog.  Even though it is good stuff can you imagine?  He can never get away.  Someone is always hanging on him demanding his attention because he is like a new toy to us.  We can't get enough of him.  We want to love on him, ask questions and just be near him - CONSTANTLY.  Geezs, if I were him I would fake going to work!  No joke!
3. - He rarely had to report to people.  Now all of a sudden I'm asking him all kinds of questions, telling him he needs to be here for this,  and there for that, don't forget that so and so needs this....  and I'm constantly asking him where he is going what he is doing, blah, blah, blah....this has got to make him insane.
4. - Not only is reintegration hard, but let's throw an overseas move on top of it, just because we can.  I'll be surprised if we are still married after all is said and done.  (I'm just joking, back off ladies, I still love and adore him! ;-)
 5. INTJ.  He is an INTJ on the Meyers Briggs Personality test....I'm an ESFJ.  If you know anything about Meyers Briggs, you will know that an ESFJ is a bit much for an INTJ at any given moment, not to mention during reintegration.  My emotions and feelings are hanging right out there on my sleeve, on his sleeve, really on anyone's sleeve that will listen. INTJ's well, not so much.   

So why do I tell you all this?  For those young military wives that think they are alone in this, you are not. I'm a (cough)  "seasoned" wife and  I've been around this block a few times and it is different every single time!  We all have our ups and downs.  Life is hard no matter who you are or what path you are on.  You just need to keep your shoulders back, chin up and move forward!  (A good friend told me this just today!) I'm in it for the long haul and if that means I need to take a look at myself and change a few things then that is what I am willing to do.  I am SO honored and SO proud to live this Army life with the love of my life ~ even when the road gets bumpy.....
5/3/2012 05:47:45 am

I loved your story... so real and so true!! I can't imagine how hard of an adjustment it is right now... just get back to the Land of The Morning Calm and all will be right again!!! love you!!!

5/3/2012 05:48:15 am

Thank you for posting this that life isn't flowers and candy when they come back. It's a adjustment on both ends

5/3/2012 05:50:00 am

Amen. Your friend is absolutely right.

5/3/2012 07:34:48 am

Enlightening for newbee's, thank you. Question though is there any advice for single soldiers families out there. In particular a mom; who wants to be well informed and help her soldier son out and be understanding and here for him.

Albert D Treiber
5/3/2012 08:44:11 am

Congrats and welcome Home. I also returned from Shindand Afghanistan about 2 mons ago as a DOD Civilian and I must say it's a pain in the royal butt to transition over as you described above. I know how you both feel. Also a 20 year US Navy VET and this was one of the hardest / (felt) longest deployments I have ever done / completed.


Albert D

5/3/2012 08:57:20 am

Thanks for writing this. When my husband came home he was doing some of the same things (house work, rearranging, etc.), then he wanted in on every aspect of the bills, bank, and so on. I knew he just wanted to help but in my mind I felt like he was trying to take over and "spy" on my budget and nit pick it (sounds crazy I know). It took a little while for he and I to realize that things needed to go slow and start fresh. We have been riding this ride for 13 years so over time we have learned to recognize when we are getting to the bad place before it is too late. Thanks Again.

5/3/2012 02:49:40 pm

Trish- Congrats on being so retrospective. Your family's (all 5 of you) bravery is inspiring and it sounds like the foundation you and hubby have built is special. I hope your move is easy and you all continue to move forward and just love each other...that's what it is all about! xoxo

5/3/2012 08:48:16 pm

Way to be mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and behavior in an emotionally fraught situation = emotional intelligence!

5/3/2012 08:49:09 pm

Trish - thanks for taking the time to write the blog. I admire you for telling it like it is - that even seasoned military families struggle with reintergration. Would you mind if I captured your article (without using your name) and shared it with our Standing Strong team? I believe this could really help several of our JAG families. If not, no worries. Sending love and peace to your beautiful family!

5/3/2012 08:49:49 pm

What an amazing, and so very true article. Sometimes you do feel like you are alone but when you can take a step back and really look at the situation you realize you both have reasons to be angry and reasons to have huge amounts of understanding with each other. Good luck with the move back to Korea.

5/3/2012 08:59:54 pm

So very true Trish, it's never easy no matter how many times you do it. It's great that you shared this, it's helps everyone to know we all go through the same things.

5/3/2012 09:00:39 pm

Perfect blog. I'm so grateful you were vulnerable enough to share. Thanks!

5/4/2012 12:27:14 am

Trish, do NOT feel like you're alone either. If it makes you feel better this is my 3rd reintegration as well and it feels like it's not getting easier. J and I were [I call it disagreeing] over dumb s*** too from 'where things go' to 'routines'. Granted as much as I missed tripping over his boots from time to time, I still don't like it. You just have to find a medium both people can sit and listen. You're doing great and I think what it is, is we will never be the soldier and they will never be just the spouse so there will always be differences. Sometimes I wish J and I could switch places for a weekend, but I'm thankful we can't. What I tell my husband when he came home one day after work [after this deployment] 'leave the soldier outside of this out and at work,' or considering sometimes work comes home with him I remind him, 'I'm not a soldier, please don't treat me like one,' because as a bartender he's told me 'do NOT treat me like one of your customers.' It's an agreement.

It's going to be stressful at times, but in all honesty you don't seem to be the person to let all this get to you. You're going to cry, and feel defeated, but you will not let this take over you. I've seen you do great things in my short time knowing you. Just remember you're human. He knows this, you know this. I promise you if you were to sit down, take a deep breath and tell him how you feel he'll take it all in and do what he can to help you. Additionally, if you and your kiddos think you're beings selfish wanting him and all of him DON'T FEEL GUILTY. You deserve to feel like you all want him to yourselves. I'm sure he feels blessed to have a family like his.


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