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The Emotional Cycle of Deployment Part 5

Join Blogger LaVaughn Ricci as she chronicles the emotional cycles of deployment. This is Part Five. Click these links to go back to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. 

 

Part Five, Deployment: Return Adjustment and Renegotiation 

 

After overcoming the anticipation of return phase of the emotional cycle of deployment, my husband finally arrived home from his deployment safely. We would have a few weeks with him before he would have to leave again for a month-long TDY to train for his new job.

The children and I had experienced enough anxiety preparing for his mid-tour leave, that when he came back permanently we were more excited than anything.

We were now entering the emotional cycle of deployment’s post deployment phase called return of adjustment and renegotiation. 

Looking back to the middle of his homecoming and his TDY, I remember a small part of me feeling uneasy about my husband’s return, as it meant making changes yet again.

 

And to be honest, I also felt that my newfound independence, and all I had empowered myself to accomplish during the year-long deployment, was going to take a backseat.

 

We now had to shift our focus to a new routine with my husband, and what that would look like again with two parents now balancing school, appointments, and all the activities. 

During those few weeks home on leave, the children and I did our best to enjoy their daddy’s presence while maintaining our normal schedule. I included him in our activities, asked him to teach a few of the children’s school lessons, and I even took advantage of his help by leaving the children in his care while I ran errands solo.

Though I experienced a few frustrations on my husband’s approach to it all, he acclimated quite well. And it was freeing for me too! We didn’t have time to process much or get upset over silly things, as he soon departed on his TDY and I began preparing for our upcoming PCS. 

It was a whirlwind wrapping things up on my own again! Even though I was irritated by the situation, I felt peace knowing my husband would be back in time to help me with the last two weeks of PCS prep. We all seemed to handle the TDY well. Time flew, the movers arrived, we closed things out, and prepped ourselves for the sad see-ya-laters. 

I didn’t think I’d be as sad to leave that duty station as much as some others.

 

We weren’t there terribly long, and my husband was gone for most of it. It was all a blur, and I didn’t think I would have a strong connection to the area. But the children and I lived a lot of life in that short amount of time. It was impactful, and it was difficult to leave it. 

In addition to the normal PCS stress and the toll it has on a relationship, my husband and I were trying to reestablish ours as we were driving across the United States! We made it through fairly well and started fresh in a new home. 

The adjustment of my husband’s return was a unique, drawn-out process for my family. We were elated to finally have my husband around for good and felt secure in the fact that he would be staying in this new home with us long term. We had a few nit-picky things to work out, but nothing that defeated us!

 

But now the renegotiation stage of the emotional cycle of deployment took over!

 

My husband had his opinions on where things should be placed in the house, what should go on the walls, and he had a few opposing ideas on how to handle activities or challenges with the children. When he participated in our activities and didn’t complete them the way I anticipated, I was frustrated and impatient.

He didn’t seem to understand what I expected of him, and I felt that he slowed up our busy schedule. I was conscientious about keeping my husband involved so he would feel wanted, and back to being part of the family as normal.

But sometimes, I became so hurried, I found myself asking him to step aside while the children and I completed our regular routine. 

My husband, the father of my children, had to stand on the outside just so I and our household could function as we were used to. 

 

 

I did not feel right about that. 

 

I was grateful my husband didn’t become too offended and fight this, but I was worried about him staying on the outside too long and never feeling like he could get back into the right groove with the rest of us.

At times, I honestly missed doing it all on my own because I had become quite efficient. But I did sense his own frustration and feelings of inadequacy by me not allowing him to fully participate with his own family. 

Everything was slightly tricky for awhile. We had to work out some bugs to reestablish what our roles were; and, maybe what we now preferred our roles to be since we were all used to different things.

We both became different people in the time my husband was overseas. Time, patience, and a lot of open and honest communication helped us reestablish who we desired to be. 

 

I feel with military life, this will always be a work in progress.

 

Active duty members are pulled away for long work hours, TDY’s, and deployments, and we are all required to overcome this renegotiation battle time and time again.

It can be a struggle, but I have also found it can bring us closer and make our relationship stronger!  

 

*Keep your eye out next month for the final part on this series, as I cover the emotions during deployment. 

 

 

 

Dear Reader, are you feeling the same? I want you to know these are perfectly normal stages and feelings of deployment – and they are temporary! You are not alone, and you will overcome these challenges. Please seek help if needed. Talk to a friend, a chaplain or pastor, and try these websites to discover a plethora of information on deployment resources, help for military children, freebies for children of deployed parents, special events near you, and more!

Military OneSource

Military and Family Life Counseling (MFLC)

Blue Star Families

United Service Organizations (USO)

 

 

 

Author

  • LaVaughn Ricci

    LaVaughn Ricci is originally from Michigan and met her husband while they were both students at Cedarville University in Ohio. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts, and she also studied bible, theatre, and American Sign Language. She is certified in Teaching English as a Second Language. LaVaughn’s husband commissioned in the U.S. Army in 2004, and the two of them overcame a long-distance relationship through five different duty stations and two deployments before they finally married in 2011. Since then, they have been stationed at seven different installations together, have had four incredible children (two born overseas), and have travelled a decent fraction of the world. LaVaughn loves Jesus Christ, being an Army wife, adventuring with her family, musicals, chocolate, chai lattés, and a quality cup of decaf. She is a homeschooling mom who volunteers in SFRGs, PWOCs, and enjoys helping service members and their families whenever and however possible. She would enjoy connecting with you on Facebook.

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Supporting Our Military Children

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