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7 Things That Changed In 7 Months

When I wrote my previous post, my husband and I were preparing for homecoming and reintegration.

The homecoming day (that only changed a couple times) has come and gone. We’re now in the trenches of reintegration.

I say “trenches” not because it’s bad, but because there are highs and lows, including some I didn’t expect. (Silly me, thinking I could plan for everything.)

My husband and I talked often while he was gone; so often that my internal clock wanted to switch to his time zone. Zero out of 10, do not recommend messing up your sleep schedule in order to talk every day. Functional adulting was not fun.

But because we talked so frequently, I forgot that each of us changed over the seven months my husband was gone. Yes, we talked about new things we were doing, but for some inexplicable reason, it didn’t click that doing new things equals change.

Here are 7 changes we experienced during the 7 months my husband was gone:

1. We got older. 

This happens for everyone, simply because time passes, whether the service member is home or not. But for us this time, my son’s and my birthday happened while my husband was gone. Not a huge deal for us because we celebrate #AllTheThings, (including the occasional “un-birthday” for all you Disney-version of Alice in Wonderland fans). Still, it feels weird to to realize my son was three when Daddy left, and now that Daddy is home, my son is four.

2. We look different. 

Listen. I found my first gray hair when I was seventeen. They’ve been coming in steadily since then. But before my husband left, I had more dark brown and black hair than I did silver and white. Not the case now. My husband on the other hand, still mostly black hair. The crow’s feet at the corners of his eyes seem deeper, but that could just be my perception since I’m finally seeing him in person, after months of video chatting. My son is a little taller, and is out of 3T clothes, into 4T. It’s wild to me.

3. We speak differently. 

This is mostly (but not exclusively) a change in our son. He has new favorite phrases, such as “Well… the thing is…”  He’s also embraced the age-old “Mommy says no, just ask Daddy.” Good thing my husband caught on to this one quickly, so it ended up being something that makes us laugh together, rather than on opposite sides of the “Can I have ice cream for dinner?”  debate our son wants to have nightly.

4. Our schedules changed.

As I mentioned earlier, my husband and I talked a lot while he was gone, to the point that my sleep schedule is wonky. He’s mostly over the jet lag, but I’m struggling. Hilarious, really, given that I stayed stateside, and he’s the one who skipped to another time zone. He gets up early on his duty days, while I’ve become a night owl. So strange. I used to fly out of bed when my alarm went off. Now, the snooze button is my friend.

5. Our hobbies changed and/or are more developed.

My husband and son have been bonding over He-Man since R was a year old. During the time apart, they came up with new ways to play with the action figures, and our home looks all the more like Eternia threw up everywhere.

But R discovered new fandoms while his Dad was away, too: Ninja Turtles, more superheroes, Cocomelon, among others. My son is teaching his dad about all his favorite characters, and it’s a joy to watch.

As for me, I finally started writing again while my husband was away. I wrote a first draft of a novel in November 2020 and left it alone. I picked it up again a couple weeks before homecoming. Now, my spare minutes are split among reading for fun and working on my story’s second draft. I was scared that I’d never finish it, but writing when my son was sleeping transformed my mindset. I need to write. And so I do.

6. Our other relationships have evolved. 

We had been in Texas for three months when my husband deployed. I’d connected with a few families, including Army Wife Network’s own Dr. Sharita Knobloch, beforehand, but every friendship was in baby stages.

During the seven months apart, our son has made friends he considers siblings. We spent holidays at friends’ homes and showed up in pajamas. My husband made friends with people he deployed with, whom we plan to have over. We started the separation somewhat alone and ended it with a village.

7. Our habits have changed.

Before my husband left, neither of us were regular coffee drinkers. He’d have a cup at work on occasion, and I (aside from a Starbucks frappuccino once a month) didn’t drink it at all.

Now, my husband still doesn’t drink it often, but I have a cup of homemade coffee almost every day. If not coffee, then hot tea; In fact, R and I incorporated a cup of tea into our evening routine. Who knew a four-year-old would like tea? Not I.

 

It’s not a huge change for my husband to learn, but it is something different. And different equals change.

Did any of these changes surprise you? What changes would you add to this list?

 

By Amanda Krieger, Content Curator Assistant

Author

  • Amanda Krieger

    Amanda Krieger is an Army wife and mom. She met her husband while he was enlisting, online to boot, even though at the time they only lived five miles apart. She has BA and MA Theology degrees from Ave Maria University and the Franciscan University of Steubenville, as well as an MA in English and Creative Writing. Her hope is to publish a memoir chronicling her life as a woman with a disability who happens to be married to a military man. A stay-at-home mom and still relatively new to military life, Amanda spends her days taking care of her family and learning as much as she can about military life. She's passionate about body positivity, disability representation, self care, her faith, and good food. She loves to see new places and try local cuisine.

1 Comment

  1. Sharita Knobloch

    Our last deployment seems like forever ago– but I remember many similar changes happening for us (only sometimes X two, since both kids grew so quickly!) I definitely didn’t struggle with the time-zone sleeping thing, because both my husband and I were so busy on opposite sides of the planet that neither of us were going to regularly sacrifice our sleep to small talk (it was almost harder to talk on the phone and not see him in person than it was for me to stay focused on my own home front mission).

    And I am glad to be part of your village! You are welcome to our house in PJs anytime (we will probably be in PJs too…)

    Reply

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