We have all seen the videos. You know the ones.
A perfectly dressed spouse is standing on the pier while the carrier pulls in. As the servicemember rushes off the ship for the first kiss, it seems as though the Heavens have parted and all is right in the world.
We all grab our tissues watching those videos and hope that when it is finally our turn for homecoming it will go just as smoothly.
But let’s be honest…that doesn’t happen. The idea of the picture perfect homecoming is just a myth.
Well, a few myths….
Myth #1- When your spouse gives you a homecoming date, you can write it in ink on your calendar.
Unless that date came with a 100% guarantee from a psychic, you better pencil that in and keep an eraser handy.
Usually on a Navy ship deployment, homecoming dates are put out with enough heads-up to notify family, so that they are able to travel in or move back home in time to watch the ships pull in.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t change.
3 weeks before I was scheduled to come home, Syria decided to throw a temper tantrum and Russia got too close with their ships… so we weren’t sure we were going to make it home in time.
Just this year, the USS Harry S. Truman was extended a month when their countdown had gotten down to under 30 days.
And let’s not talk about how the other branches do things.
Trying to take leave to make it to my husband’s homecoming was nearly impossible. They gave us a window of 10 days and said we’d have about 48 hours’ notice before they actually arrived.
Fun to plan that way right?
Imagine you have a house full of kids and you clean, hoping they will be home on day 1 of that window… but they don’t arrive until day 10.
What are the odds the place is still squeaky clean by then?
So, as exciting as it is to make the countdown to homecoming chart and cross off each day, remember that things CAN change. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
And have a bottle of wine handy just in case that “Honey, we’ve been extended” email pops up.