Post-deployment: The Expectations, the Reality, and the Growth

They’re home.

After days, weeks, months, or years of paper chains, calendar cross-offs, or your 400th empty diet Dr. Pepper bottle (that’s probably a conservative number), that servicemember of yours is finally home.

It’s over.

I mean, it is over, right?

I thought it was over. I thought the deployment ended at the plane flight in. The finale. The big hurrah. The parades and marches and celebrations must surely mean that we were facing the checkmark of checked-off duty. It was time to return to regularly scheduled programming, time to hit play after a year-long pause and pick right back up where we left off.

I was devastated and heavily intrigued when I realized it didn’t work that way.

Here’s the beef, babes: Deployments (or mobilizations or long training schools or any long absences), well, they change people. You. Me. Our spouses. Our children. And when we change, it’s sometimes difficult for a time to find our footing. My husband and I have been through three deployments, and each return home has differed because of a variety of factors. Yet, one thing remained the same:

We changed.

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