By the time you read this, my husband will have been home for a full day 🙂 I’m not breaking OPSEC by posting that he’s coming home (he’s returning a little early from deployment in order to be here when the carrier pulls in), but I’m slightly superstitious with telling people that he’s on his way home before he’s actually on his way. With the “anything can happen at the last minute” thing with the military, I try not to count my chickens before they hatch and all that.
So, yes, my husband is home. He was able to fly off the carrier in a COD, which stands for “carrier onboard delivery”. CODs are usually C-2 Greyhounds and have a small space for passengers. Before a carrier pulls-in to its home port, several CODs transport passengers back to base so that they can complete duties associated with the carrier pulling-in and/or squadrons returning home. Because of my husband’s job, he has the opportunity to get off the ship early. I cherish these opportunities because he probably will not have the seniority to fly-off early on his next deployment.
Since I’ve been sick and jet lagged, I wasn’t able to prepare for homecoming the way I have in the past. Sure, the house is much cleaner then it usually is, the kitchen is fully stocked with all of his favorite things, and there’s even freshly-baked peanut butter brownies waiting for him, but I do not have a sign to carry to the tarmac, I don’t have a special outfit to wear, and nobody is coming to take pictures of our reunion. Mostly, I’m just hoping that I am cough-free for 30 seconds that it will take to hug and kiss for the first time. I have a gigantic sign hanging on our front balcony that I made at my parents’ house. It’s out-of-control gigantic, and it reads “Best Day EVER! Welcome Home LT ——“.
Our big plans for tonight involve walking to a local steak place and enjoying a beautiful kobe steak and “Product of France” wine (we call it that because that’s what the Japanese owners call it – and it’s $5 for 2 liters of it. True story.). Then, we’ll come home and have a couch-Netflicks night. Maybe we’ll stop at McDonalds and get a McFlurry on the way home, because he has mentioned missing those during deployment.
Homecoming is exciting and awesome, and most people envision a perfectly-happy reunion where everything falls back into place just as it was before the spouse left. At some point I should write a post about the realities of homecoming, but I’ll touch on a few of the realities here:
– Homecomings are (typically) very hard on the families and the service member. Yes, everyone is overjoyed to be together again. However, they are VERY stressful. There is an element of everyone wanting everything to go to the plan, and nothing with the military ever goes to plan. Period.
– Everyone involved has differing expectations of what should happen and how homecoming should be handled. Sometimes the family wants to plan a fun-filled day but the service member really just wants to sit on the couch and decompress. Sometimes the service member doesn’t know what they need until they’re in the moment and finally home. Sometimes, after months of envisioning and planning the “perfect” homecoming, it’s hard for families to be flexible to whatever the service member wants in the moment. It sounds like I’m blaming families, but I’m not. I’m just listing the realities and difficulties.
– The service member and the family have gotten acclimated to living apart during deployment, and it can be difficult to come together again. For example, I’m now used to living alone and having the house *as so*. My husband will walk in, drop his boots and socks near the recliner in the living room, throw all of his gear in the middle of the dining room, and, you know, move things around by virtue of being here. It’s hard to describe and understand, I imagine, unless you’ve been there. I’m overjoyed that he’s home and I want him to be home with me, but I need to remind myself that I do live with another person and I need to honor his right to, you know, be in the house. I’ll have to spend some time coming up with a better description of what this feeling is like. Both parties share this feeling, though. Sometimes the service member feels like a stranger in his own home, and sometimes the family feels like a stranger has moved into their home.
Well, I need to go get ready now! HOORAY! He should be home in about 90 minutes. I live 5 minutes from the pick-up point, so I’m running right on time 🙂 I probably won’t leave until about the time that he’s supposed to land. It’s cold outside and I can’t spend a long time out in the weather. It sinks, but, hey, at least he’s coming home and all is well! I sure love that man 🙂