On Veterans Day websites like BuzzFeed, Oprah, and every news channel over flowed with videos of Soldier reuniting with their wives, dogs, and children. They were truly touching moments, and in past years I've shed a few tears. But not this year. Because this year I understand it.
Here's your reality check.
It lasts about five minutes.
Then you go home. Thats when the awkward kicks in.
Think about it. You've spent months building up this reunion in your head, and your first night back together. But the truth is, it's awkward. You haven't seen each other in months. Touched each other in months. Had a natural conversation in months. Have lived almost as if the other person hasn't existed in months, because even though your thoughts are with them and you love them with all your heart, it's necessary to be normal.
Not to mention hubby probably has jet lag, and if there are kids its another story. He's got to be daddy too.
And he's different. You don't know what he's been through. You can't possible begin to understand it.
It takes days, sometimes weeks to get used to each other again- everything from conversation to being sexual. Remember the first time you kiss somebody and it's just a little weird because you've never kissed them before? Who goes right, left?
Just like that, back to square one.
If you've been in a long distance relationship, going months without seeing each other, you might understand this.
About a week ago, I read this article about how the homecoming is not the fairytale you see on TV, and it really resonated with me.
Though my experience hasn't been as hard as those with spouses overseas, I've gotten a taste.
While Dear Husband was in training, we spent three months apart. Not only did we not see each other, we weren't allowed to communicate very much. I wrote him one letter every day during that entire period. I received 4 in return. Forget skype, texting, emails, and phone calls. I was told he was going to get to call me on Sundays and Wednesdays, and for 5 weeks on those days I'd sob onto my poor cat when I realized, once again, no phone call would come. Eventually, I had to pull myself out of the funk. I had to move on, keep him a very warm memory, but act almost as if he didn't exist.
When we finally saw each other again, it was that magical TV reunion.
I flew to meet him. The entire four hour flight I sat rigid in my seat. On the tram ride I shook violently and felt like I was going to vomit- a sickening combo of nervous, excited, and fear. I expected him to meet me outside the terminal in his car, and I almost walked right by him in the baggage claim because I was so focused on keeping myself together.
When I noticed him standing there I dropped everything and ran, jumped up, and wrapped my legs around him. We had a mini make out sesh right there in front of everybody while I cried and shook in his arms. If he'd been in his uniform I bet people would have clapped.
But then life moves on. Things seemed normal. We went to dinner, I had a thousand questions. I couldn't put my finger on it, but he was different. We were different. It wasn't a bad thing, we just were.
Shortly after we spent almost two weeks in a car driving across the country, and at one point I realized, I didn't know what to say anymore. I didn't know what to talk about and I even felt a little weird. Even kissing felt weird. After several days cooped up in the car things returned to normal, but I'll never forget that unsettling feeling when we first got into the car and I didn't know what to say.
When I look at all the videos on buzzfeed, all I see are months of pain, a five minute fairy tale, weirdness to come, and feel incredibly misunderstood by the non-military community.
It was the first time I really understood what it means it be an army wife.
I guess that means I've had a breakthrough :)