…it’s a nice point to look forward to in long separations.
…is that it is never long enough.
…is that you spend half of that time knowing that with every day that passes, you are one day closer to having that person gone again.
…you will spend way too much money on food, entertainment, and other things that your spouse cannot get while gone.
…the first week will be joyous but also full of frustrations, irritations, mixed sleep schedules, and changes in routines.
…the last week will be the countdown to “the last day,” and it will dictate most of your moods and actions (positive and negative).
…you will always wish that it was not R&R and that it was the final homecoming. Until the next separation, at least.
The husband has been home for about 3 weeks, and he is due to return in a few days. R&R is wonderful – it is something to look forward to, something to break up the long months, and something to enjoy. As the date of return approaches, we all have mixed emotions about the day. It is hard to say goodbye yet again. The kids have grown accustomed to having their dad back, and it will be another readjustment. It takes a couple weeks just to get used to living together again, and then your spouses leaves AGAIN. You almost want your spouse to go back, just so you can get the remainder of the separation period over and done with. But you think about being alone, not having that person physically there for comfort, companionship, guidance, support, and all the other wonderful aspects of a marriage, and you want to chain them to the sofa. You both know that neither of you has a choice in this, but there is a part of you that still wants to be angry about this. No matter if this is the 1st time or the 20th time, a few days or a year, hours away or countries away…it never gets easier, and there is no magic way to make it better.
So I have been spending my time with my husband and kids – the beach, eating, exploring, relaxing, and often doing nothing but talking face to face – and will continue to do so until I drop him off at the airport yet again. The real truth about military R&R is…it’s a blessing and a curse. But I would take any time together during this long year, no matter how short or costly.