Yes, you heard me right: Ninjas have invaded our home.
Reintegration Ninjas to be more precise.
Ah, that makes it seem really bad and it isn't. Its more the idea that they jump out and get you when you least expect it- they are stealthy like that. We haven't struggled with big things, we are doing pretty well (considering we never really got to live together before he deployed) and thankfully we are talkers so we are working things out like proper adults and nipping them in the bud before they become full blown problems. Hooray for us! But I digress... back to the Ninjas.
I find that these Ninjas of ours like to be general pests rather than wage all out warfare on our household. I suppose that is the better end of the bargain as far as Ninjas go, am I right? I find Swiss and I bickering over silly little things like dishes and laundry and his (sometimes) endearing inability to use the giant hamper in our room and the fact that he unceremoniously took over my side of the bed when he returned home and I still haven't gotten it back. Oh yes, getting used to the fact that my husband does have hearing loss and I have to repeat myself A LOT. And the Ninjas get me all angsty over doing ALL the household tasks and then realizing that I shouldn't/can't and then stress out over exactly which tasks to give back to the hubs. I mean, really, how ridiculous is that? Im guessing you are seeing the theme here... all the stuff I had to do when he was gone, all the things you forget when they are away, all the stuff that was normal during the deployment that no longer fits into life. That's a broken record in MilSpouse Land if I've ever heard one, no?
I've been successful in handing over bill paying and a few other small tasks. But seeing as how I'm not working that is enough for now. Our biggest challenge is the job hunting/resume writing/application process. I'll admit that it has both of us stressed out- some more than others (wink, wink). It is testing our patience with each other and helping us "rediscover" our unique coping techniques and plans of action. Was that sugar coated enough for you?
Suffice it to say, we cope with our stresses in different ways and we approach "help" (ie: references, contacts, using whatever contacts you have to get yerself a J.O.B.) about as differently as you can imagine. I'm betting even odds that this is 100% related to the fact that he's the military one in the family. But I digress. It's been a process and a mostly smooth one. But don't let anyone fool you--- EVERYONE goes through some sort of wonky reintegration weirdness.
I think the thing I find most amazing is how much you 'forget' about your spouse when they are gone for a year. Of course you remember the big things, the funny things, the endearingly quirky things... but its the little stuff that doesn't have the strong foothold in your brain... that is the stuff (at least for us) that tends to pop up and rough up the seas on the USS Reintegration. You forget how he deals with minor stress, you forget how he is particular about how he folds his jeans, you forget about the little things and I find that I tend to steam-roll over these quirks because I'm not used to them.
My prevailing wisdom as of late has been, "Why don't we just do it my way?"...as I think to myself "Because it sure worked for me when you weren't here!" I know that isn't fair and it is totally unreasonable, and it is on me to open up to the idea that my way isn't the only way. And you know what? IT IS HARD!!! I am certain that he is doing his best to not treat me like a soldier (despite the occasional lapses) and he has done a great job falling into step with the natural order of things at home. Mostly, it has been a challenge to make our life OURS again. For so long it was mine and his... separately... and then I PCS'd and this home became mine... not ours. But you know what? It is feeling more and more like OURS every day.
Anyway, I suppose there isn't a big, grand point to make... just that all of this is exasperating and rewarding and totally par for the course in this military life. I won't lie when I say I'm looking forward to never having to do this again and forever banishing the Ninjas from our house!