The Story of an Army Wife: Homecoming and the Days After

August 7th marked the end of an almost 9 month deployment.  After several date changes and a scattered brain day of cleaning and getting ready, Elliott and I finally welcomed home Akeem.
I had a mixed bag of feelings the whole day: stress, excitement, fear, and just a bunch of other craziness.  When you haven't seen someone for 9 months, but you have seen other relationships crumble under the monster that is is hard not to have mixed feelings.

I honestly didn't think I would be emotional seeing Akeem for the first time.  Fortunately, my good friend Christina came and that allowed me not to have to deal with a sick child alone while I gathered my thoughts.  It wasn't til I saw the soldiers getting off the bus that I felt myself start to choke up.  Like reality was starting to crash down on me.  Not in a bad way though.
Deployment sucks! I feel like there is no way to look at it any other way (outside of financially beneficial).  The one thing I wanted to do during this deployment was work on myself and my relationship.  While I feel like I have made serious strides in both areas, nothing is for sure until you can put it in action.

The first few days following homecoming, I treated like I treated the start of this deployment: avoiding conflict.  When the soldiers prepare to come home the spouse and soldiers are educated about possible changes in the soldier when coming home.  But also like the start of this deployment, I realized not addressing feelings or problems with Akeem when he came home was not going to be a reality that worked for me either.  It was a matter of finding balance.

Thursday will mark three weeks since Akeem came home.  While our disagreements have been civil, we have had a couple since he has been home.  It is an adjustment period.  You spend a good part of a year doing things on your own and your own way, reintegrating someone into that routine is not always a smooth transition.  I also learned that old habits die hard......the hard way.

Despite a few kinks, Akeem coming home has been a fairly easy transition especially when I compare it to the worse alternatives.  Elliott has taken well to his dad being back home and I admit I missed this snoring man beside me at night (though I have wanted to smother him with a pillow when the snoring starts up since he has been home lol).  Deployment definitely strengthened our relationship.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but communication is what makes a relationship stay together.  We did a LOT of talking when he was gone. About anything and everything.

Deployment is what you make of it (on both sides).  You can choose to be miserable and drown in the thoughts of separation or you can focus on growth.  While my marriage is not perfect,  I do feel grateful that I have a husband who was willing to see this deployment the same way.  Now that this is behind us, we are moving forward to bigger and better things and hoping that there isn't another deployment in the near future or in the future at all.
 I love this man with all my heart.  He was definitely worth the wait.  For all my fellow military wives, fiances, girlfriends going through a deployment now or will be soon........fight for your relationship, but also fight for yourself.  You should support your soldier (airman, marine, sailor) but don't lose yourself in the process.  That was one of the greatest lessons I learned during this deployment.  I am Kristin. I am an army wife but that does not define me and it is not all I am.  I am a wife, a mother, a woman, and a person with my own wants and dreams and there is nothing wrong with that at all.

Deployment ends........just remember that:-)