Tuesday, June 29, 2010

our Memorial Day weekend and reintegration

The Friday before Memorial Day, my friend Katie drove up with our other friend Melodie to hang out for a few hours. 


I hadn't seen Melodie very many times since high school; the last time was possibly in early 2006. It was so good to chat and have her meet my kids! We picked up some Cafe Rio for lunch and ate it at my house. As we talked I also realized that Melodie now lives in the same neighborhood that my grandma lives in.




That Saturday was a big day with extended family. First it was my step-sister 
Angie's Bridal Tea. She and Todd (the only male you see in the collage below) will be married in July. 



Then we drove straight to visit graves of some ancestors on my mom's side of the family. Before leaving the first cemetery, where my mom's parents are buried, we were pleasantly surprised to see my mom's step-dad arriving.





On Memorial Day we relaxed at home and then went to my father-in-law's house in the afternoon. My husband had corrected me when, as he was preparing a blog post, I said I thought the purpose of Memorial Day is to remember anyone who has died. We do have Veteran's Day, after all. Actually, Memorial Day "commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service." My husband gathered all of us in the living room and told us about two men -- one a Captain in the Army and the other a Specialist -- who were killed in Afghanistan during the time that he was there. At 3:00, as soon as he'd talked about those soldiers and passed around photos of them, we had a minute of silence to think about them. It was so neat. As you can imagine, we are all extremely grateful that the Lord protected him and he returned to me . . . twice.


We've been able to have a lot of time together as my husband "reintegrates" into our little family.  
(That rectangle is where we had our 2-man tent for a few days.)

For me, it's been a little harder readjusting to living together than I had thought it would be. This deployment was different in many ways from his first one (2005-2006). Also, we have children now, I'm not employed besides being their mom, and we ourselves have changed. Most of the changes are good, and we love each other so much, but it is still an adjustment. Sometimes we have different expectations. His description is accurate: it's perfect when he first returns, the honeymoon lasts a few weeks, and then real life begins. I don't completely understand what it's like for him. We have hard days, and plenty of fun times and ordinary things going on, too.


clapping



It helped to attend classes at a Yellow Ribbon Reintegration event with other veterans and their family members Father's Day weekend. The Army required him to attend one of these events soon after returning home, but they paid for our family to fly there (to Anaheim), plus the hotel and some meals and even child care during the classes! They split everyone into about 11 smaller groups and we moved to a new room each hour. Some classes were about the military insurance or other services that are available. Some of the information we'd heard before, but some was new or a helpful reminder. My favorite was the class called Keeping It Together. We discussed good and bad experiences the 20 or 30 of us have had related to the soldier leaving, being gone, and returning. I wish we had thought to get contact information from a Chicago couple we enjoyed talking with. 


Besides no longer having the mind of a warrior all the time, my husband is dealing with his depression that began in 2007, his new church calling (in the Elder's Quorum presidency), and the normal uncertainties related to his future career. He returned to work delivering pizzas on June 11th. Right now, at a new location because of our move, it's only part time. Hopefully he will get a lot more hours while it's still summer. It's so nice that the active duty pay continues for a while after he actually comes home. He will get back into his exercise science classes at the university this fall (only four semesters left!).


Teaching his 3-year-old about human anatomy. She loves it.


Being first-time homeowners, we are inexperienced with things like gardening. I love our different colors of roses in the front yard. I really love all the trees we have in the back; it's like a small forest. D is enjoying taking care of the grass and driveway. He has almost finished the frustrating work of fixing our swamp cooler. Thank goodness for ceiling fans and cool nights. We decided that we love the area and the house so much that we want to live here forever. 

4 comments:

  1. I just have to say Manda... my heart is with you!!! I really wish we lived closer :)

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  2. What an excellent post. We will be reintegrating after being separated emotionally for a year and I'm sure it will be a similar thing. You are good folks and will make it through. I love the picture of you two at the top of your blog. It is so perfect.

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  3. We've had some fun, haven't we?

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  4. Yeah, we've had some fun :)

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