There are many parts of this life that we are warned about and try our hardest to prepare ourselves for. We know there are times where we will be separated from our loved ones, no matter how much we hate it. We know that we can beg and plead and cry, but they still have to leave. We still have to stay behind. Whether it is a deployment or a trip out to the field, they still have to go.
What you aren't warned about, or at least I wasn't, is what happens when they get back. The adjustment period.
There you are, crying your eyes out because you miss them so much your heart feels like it may literally rip in half. You can't sleep without hearing their voice. You are terrified because you can't remember what they smell like or what their skin feels like under your fingertips. It seems as though your world is falling apart and you cannot take it anymore. You are ready to give up. And then...they come home.
To say you are thrilled is an understatement. Your heart feels complete. Your world is whole again. You remember how to go to sleep without worrying about getting the dreaded phone call or knock on your door in the middle of the night.
But what happens after that? What happens when all the glamour rubs off? When the magic of reaching out at touching them becomes second nature? When you have him home and know he isn't leaving again soon?
What happens is a struggle. What happens is hard. What happens takes time.
Sweet Boy and I are in that time period. We are learning one another again. We are learning what it is to be a couple again; what it is like to merge two lives together. It is hard. It is a struggle. And it is going to take some time.
He stopped answering my phone calls not long after he got back. He graduated on a Thursday and I was lucky enough to be there with him and to see him graduate and spend the rest of the weekend with him. Things were perfect. He was back and nothing was different. We picked up right where we left off; or so I thought. When I got back home after the weekend, I was able to talk to him and tell him I was home.
I didn't talk to him after that until Tuesday night...very late Tuesday night. To most people, this may not mean very much. He needed time to sleep, they told me. He probably wanted some alone time. Maybe he just isn't used to having to answer to anyone. But that just isn't him.
Sweet Boy, before he left, was the kind of boy who would call me and talk for hours. We would talk many times a day, mostly about nothing. He was simple. He was carefree.
He wrote me letters from training. They were pages and pages and pages long. They were sweet. They were kind. They were loving.
He would sneak away and call me when they were given the opportunity. He would stand in line for half an hour to talk to me for five minutes. The one time I was sleep when he called me, he called and called and called and called (yes, he would call, get my voicemail, hang up and get in the back of the line at least four times) until I did wake up so I could hear him tell me he loved me.
But now things are different.
Now we are struggling to have a conversation that doesn't lead to fighting or hurt feelings. We don't talk very often. I'm feeling a little pushed to the side. It is hard to go from months with no communication, wishing they were there every second, to being surrounded by them at every moment and not knowing what to talk about or how to act towards one another. This isn't how I thought things would be when he got back. This isn't how I played it out in my head.
It is hard right now, and I know it will get better, but it is a daily struggle right now. I miss the man I fell in love with. I miss my better half.