"You must be so excited to have your husband home, is it just fantastic?"
This sentence has been said to me a lot over the last 2 and a half weeks and I feel such pressure to say the right thing, when someone is in front of you asking that question there is an answer they expect...."Yes it is just fabulous and we've been walking on air since the second he walked through the door" but that really isn't the truth.
I think many people from outside the military community have a romantic view about how this person in uniform comes in and out your life and it is rose tinted, great for photo opportunities and something like out of the movies.
The reality is though it isn't like those quotes you see shared over the internet.
Your partner packing a bag and leaving your life for a few months and not having any input in the daily upbringing of children or life in general isn't easy then having to have the ability to manage your marriage on one 15 minute phone call a week which is testing for the strongest of couples to the teaching yourself to fix anything and everything via google searching!
That void is then filled by your partner returning and expecting everything to be exactly as it was as if a pause button was pressed when they left the front door months ago. It isn't.
You will have bought things, changed the living room around, your child will have done lots, changed and grown. You will have been to weddings and christenings on your own and you may well have been through situations that have tested your resilience while you were flying solo. You definitely didn't experience a pause button over that separation period!
This post is about time, it has taken me and my family a full 18 days for us to 'be back to normal' it has been a tough couple of weeks, we've not been walking on air and it hasn't been rose tinted. That time has been needed for all of us to find our feet again, catch up on what was missed and to get things out of our systems that we bottled up over that deployment. I know I talk about your light at the end of the tunnel and sometimes maybe we focus on that return date too much because the truth is sometimes the light at the end is actually a couple of weeks after they come home.
We persevered, we talked and ultimately the years of military life we've lived and the love that we have meant that we stuck with it and knew we'd get there eventually and once again we have. We found our normal but it wasn't instant and it did this time take longer that maybe some other times.
As always be kind to yourself, no homecoming will be the same but ALL will take time and as I say for us that was nearly three weeks! So if you are battling that initial period at the moment and you feel alone because it isn't how you imagined yet, breathe deep and believe that your normal will come, just give it yourselves time.