[dropcap style=”color: #9b9b9b;”]W[/dropcap]hen I received my re-integration briefing my first day back, I was warned about common challenges experienced by families after a homecoming. As I read through the list, I secretly scoffed. It wasn’t going to be like that for my family. We’re a flexible lot, we go with the flow. We’ll re-integrate seamlessly.
Ha. Ha. That kind of thinking is like being a non-parent convinced YOUR kids are going to be the quiet and behaved ones in public places because YOU are going to raise them right. Of course.
The good thing is that, for the most part, Martin, Miss C and I really have been doing very well. The few issues we are having, though, stem from two of the most common issues reported by returning vets: sleep problems and restlessness.
I just can’t sleep on a decent schedule.
Nor can I really sleep when I DO manage to shut my eyes.
As I predicted, it’s strange being in my big fluffy bed and sharing the space with Martin and with Miss C, who sneaks in late at night and likes to wedge her feet into my armpit. And I hate NOT being busy. I am, as they say, restless.This, of course, results in me trying to overcompensate.
If I can’t sleep, I may as well work on something. This has led to me starting about 20 different “projects” at home, ranging from organizing family photos to catching up on laundry and other household chores to decorating the house for Halloween to baking enough frozen dinners and cookies to last us a month.
Plus, I’ve been keeping Miss C home with me most days to spend time with her.
Notice how I wrote of starting these projects?
Unfortunately, the lack of a good sleep pattern also means I get hit with bouts of exhaustion that just flatten me. So, while most projects get completed, some get abandoned and it’s left our house in a bit of a disarray. And this drives Martin – a very logical and very orderly German – absolutely nuts.
After coming home recently from work to find Miss C, Baci and me passed out on the living room couch amid folded laundry, family photos and the contents of Miss C’s toy box strewn all over the house, Martin felt he needed to address some issues over one of our pre-cooked dinners.
“You are trying too hard,” he said. “For four months, this house was in order and we had a routine. You are home for almost two weeks, and everything is flipped upside down! What gives?”
So, I tried to explain to him how I felt, how hard it was to be wide-awake at 3 a.m. (even for a regular night owl!) with nothing to do. Being sent home so suddenly was like running at full speed and being stopped by a fence that popped out of nowhere. It hasn’t been easy to suddenly shift into a lower gear.
And as for dealing with household chores, we really needed to address our expectations with each other. For four months, he had full control of the house and I had none.
Martin seemed to understand this, and we came up with a plan of action. Miss C went back to school during the day, we got the house in decent order again, and I came up with a few worthwhile projects to focus my energy on before heading back to work. We also made a pact to return Miss C to her bed when she joins us late at night. (This will be particularly hard, of course, since she creeps in swift and silent.)
As for other news, we signed Miss C up for the children’s choir at our church. They have one rehearsal each week. I took her this week, meeting some of the other parents for the first time. It was fun to sit and talk with them and compare parenting stories, especially since I had fresh stories from our time together.
I also attended my fire department’s monthly meeting this past week. Some of them knew I was home, but it was a surprise for others. I thanked everyone for their support during Miss C’s birthday party, and was happy to hear I could help them with their upcoming open house. (Another project!!)
So far, it’s been good and I think once I begin work next week, we’ll really hit our stride again and I won’t be driving my husband nuts…
Ha. Ha. Of course.