This summer we made it a point to be extremely busy, because of our daughter’s 1 year military assignment over seas. We did this deliberately. Our daughter was able to come home for a Mid Tour or R&R to be with their family in July.
We were very excited, and a bit anxious of how our daughter would be when she returned home. I was warned by many military families ,spouses and counselors, this is a very exciting time being reunited. And can be even more painful, when the service member returns back to their duty.
I was nervous. When our daughter returned from deployment in 2008, she was a different person and we as a family had to work at reconnecting her family back. Was this how it would be when she comes home during her Mid Tour?
The school social workers told I needed to prepare my granddaughters. Share with them their excitement of their mother returning and reminding them this was only temporary. Talk about how many days the family will be together and then the date their mother will have to leave. I did just that. I knew this was going to be challenging for all of us.
When our daughter returned home, a few days later my granddaughter Ivie had her dance recital. My husband and I drove out to attend the performance. We stayed with our daughter. I tried asking my daughter questions about her experiences overseas and she gave me one word answers. I knew this was similar to when she came home from deployment. My daughter was extremely tired which is understandable traveling from overseas and dealing with the time change, so I let it go. She really did not talk much that weekend. The weekend went by and my husband and I drove back to California.
A week later our daughter and her family came to our home in California to spend the 4th of July. Our town is very patriotic, has a 2 hour parade which is televised and evening fireworks. We all rode our bicycles to where the parade route would be. We had so much fun that day.
Our daughter spent 5 days with us and it was not until end of her visit, she began to open up. She shared stories about people ,the food the climate and places she had visited and the family began to reconnect with her. She was beginning to be her old self prior to her leaving. We all where so happy laughing at her stories.
But we knew this was only temporary it would come to end once she had to return.
When she was getting ready to return I decided to stay home and not see her off at the airport. It found it to painful seeing her expressions, her crying, knowing difficult it must be for her to leave her husband and her children.
I cried several nights prior to her leaving. I think most family members do the same thing. Once the day came for her to leave and she was in the airport waiting for her flight, she called my husband and I. She thanked us for all we are doing for helping her husband and children. My husband and I know this challenging time is an opportunity for us to know our family even more. Because someday it will all change. It is not easy for any family. We all encouraged one another on the phone reminding us that soon December will be here and this will be all over. We will be back together again.
We are on the downward slide to December.