From the moment your service member leaves for a deployment, you start thinking of homecoming day. You dream about that day, you plan for it. You spend hours looking for the perfect dress, the perfect sign and you want everything to go as smoothly as possible.
I have experienced four military homecomings plus all the random times we reconnected after a time apart. When I flew into Germany I was nothing but exhausted after the long flight with my toddler. Still, seeing my husband again after 4.5 months was everything. This was the first time we had ever been apart and we were finally back together again. I didn’t have a sign, I am not even sure I cared what I was wearing but I was back in his arms and everything felt normal again.
When it comes to homecoming day, it is way too easy to become too stressed out about everything that needs to happen.
Here are 5 tips for a better homecoming day:
1. Remember, the dress is for you- Picking out that perfect outfit for a homecoming outfit can be a lot of fun. You spend a little more money than you normally would, and you get to go shopping with friends and buy something special that you will always remember as your homecoming outfit. However, I don’t think what you wear matters to most of the service members coming home from a deployment. They want to see you. They want to hug you. They want to be home. The dress is for you and if you are too stressed about what to wear, don’t be. Pick a nice outfit and you will be fine.
2. Make a to-do list- Preparing for homecoming is all about having a to-do list. There are things you will probably want to do right before they come home. From having the carpets cleaned to figuring out what your kids will wear. Make a good to-do list and stay on track. This will help with your stress level. Know too that you probably don’t have to do everything on your to-do list but having one will keep you busy and keep you from overstressing in the last few days.
3. The simple things are the important ones- Remember, you just need to know where to go and what time, everything else is just extra. Your service member is excited to be home and to see you and your children again. Try not to stress if one of your rooms isn’t clean or if you couldn’t get the right type of beer for your husband.
4. Times and dates will change often- Times and dates for homecoming can change and you might not know for sure until just a few hours before. I really had no idea that my husband would be in one afternoon until he called me from Canada. Try to go with the flow and remember OPSEC!
5. Homecoming is good but can be hard for some- Homecoming can be one of the best days, but for some, homecoming is a day when the reality of war hits. Coming back from a war zone can bring up a lot of different emotions. Both for you and your service member. You are used to being the only adult in the house, they are used to being around other service members all the time. They have been through things us spouses might not be able to imagine. The reintegration period isn’t easy and knowing that you might need some extra help after homecoming day is important.
The good thing is that there are resources out there to help. Here are a few worth looking into: