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5 Things No One Ever Told Me About Homecoming

Erin Whitehead
tagged: homecoming
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We all love seeing the videos of a surprise homecoming on You Tube. Our eyes fill with tears when we watch those shows featuring service members being welcomed home by their loved ones. And who could resist a picture of a dad in uniform holding his baby for the very first time? But those of us who have actually been on the other side of the camera know that while homecomings are amazing in their own right, they can also present some unique, and often times surprising challenges.

I remember that very first homecoming. It was the first time I had been away from my husband for that length of time, and it had been an incredibly stressful deployment. My husband was in one of the first groups to enter Iraq when the war started, and it was a totally different experience than the deployments we have experienced since. There was no Skype, phone calls were scarce, and we were all terrified because this was so new to everyone and we had no idea what to expect. So when the time finally came, I thought "thank goodness this horrible experience is over and we can get back to our normal lives".

It would be years later when I first heard these very wise words: "Normal is just a setting on your washing machine."

The things I didn't realize about homecoming, that no one told me... well, it's a list a mile long. There are some really important ones though, and ones that I really wish I knew before he stepped off that bus and into my arms.

5) Never shave your legs until you know that boots are on the ground.

The U S. Military is the best in the world. They complete their missions with accuracy and precision. They can be called upon at a moments notice to take care of the most impossible situations if they arise. But for some reason, no unit that has ever returned home in the history of deployments... has ever arrived home on their original return date. At least that's how it feels. It's just something you have to accept: Never plan on the original return date. Then, when you finally get a firm date, the time will get pushed back... about four or five hundred times. So, girls, don't shave until you know for sure. In fact, just to be safe bring the razor with you and just shave those legs when you see that first white bus on the horizon.


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