Deployment homecoming expectation: we’ll have this magical perfect reunion where I will look flawless.
Deployment homecoming reality: his plane was delayed 3 times, I got rained on and am now a bit sweaty from sitting in this hot airport.
I no longer look flawless.
He smells like he hasn’t showered in a week.
He doesn’t even care.
Neither do I.
That, dear readers, is an true description of my most recent homecoming. On one hand, it definitely was not what I’d been dreaming about for months on end. But on the other hand, it was exactly what I’d been dreaming about: he was home and safe. We were together and my heart was whole again.
That’s really all that mattered.
I know it’s tempting to fantasize about one of those tear-jerking homecomings you see on the news, especially when you’re in the depths of deployment. And some of you may have a video or photos just like that and that’s ok! But some of you won’t and that’s ok too.
Just like the deployment itself, each homecoming is going to be different. You cannot place too many expectations on those first few moments of being together again. What happened last time may not happen this time. What happens for your friend may not happen for you, even if your homecoming happens at the exact same time. Honestly, no matter how those moments unfold, they won’t be exactly like you pictured, but they will be uniquely yours.
So make your sign, but don’t worry if the letters are a little crooked. Pick out a great outfit, but don’t worry if your hair didn’t come out exactly the way you wanted it. Have someone take a picture of the moment you’re reunited and celebrate that moment above all the other ones of the day. It’s the one that matters, no matter what it looks like.
Comparing your homecoming to anyone else’s or even your previous ones will only leave you feeling unhappy.
The same goes for the moments that come after getting home; reintegration is not always smooth and not always full of romance. You both have gone through a life-changing experience: spending months apart, dealing with your own stressors and life issues without much (if any) input from your loved one. It’s natural to have a bit of awkwardness in those first moments as the buzz wears off and you have to adjust to another person in your space. Give yourself grace during the adjustment period.
No matter what the news and Instagram likes to tell you, not every deployment homecoming is picture perfect. But it doesn’t have to be in order to give you butterflies and make you feel like all is right with the world again.
If you have a deployment homecoming in your future (whether it’s your first or your 15th), don’t make yourself crazy. Enjoy the moment (whatever it looks like) and bask in that moment of being back together with your loved one.
Do you have questions about deployment homecomings? Leave them below and I’ll get back to you!
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