Well folks, this deployment is getting closer and closer to being done and over with. I mentioned a long time ago that I didn't quite understand the reintegration issues families go through. I'm now realizing how cocky and naive that really was of me. I was thinking the other day that we never even got a chance to really live together and settle in at Fort Bragg as a family. Gunnar was deployed so soon after we got here that we never really got into a routine or flow. There's definitely going to be some big adjustments coming for everyone involved.
It seems like the homecoming process altogether will be jumbled and stressful. Of course, this is the Army we're dealing with so at this point, I'd expect nothing less. I think I'll only get 24-48 notice of when Gunnar is actually coming home. He will land here at the Pope Air Force Base but everything after that sounds like a total cluster. Families are permitted to arrive an hour before the plane lands. And it could very well be in the middle of the night. So me and my 2 and 3 year olds are going to sit for an hour (likely longer - if we want to get a "good seat") and the soldiers will all come in and stand in formation. I know my husband anywhere but in a see of soldiers, it can get a little tricky. That camouflage is no joke - they all look the same!!! Then they have some sort of ceremony, or people speak about who-knows-what and then it's a mad house as hundreds of families attempt to be reunited. Can you imagine the chaos? And get this! We only get 15 minutes with our soldiers and then they get on a bus to go to their unit headquarters. I think they need to spend a few hours there doing in-processing type stuff and then we are eventually reunited again. I'm pretty sure we can't pick them up at the unit, so they must get bussed back to the Green Ramp (AFB).
Don't get me wrong, I'm super excited to see Gunnar again but this whole thing sounds ridiculous. I don't know why they make everything seem so fussy. It will be interesting and exciting to have him back home too. I've been living alone (man-less but with the kids) for a really long time now. I've learned a lot about myself and how to be a lot more independent.
One thing I do know for sure, Gunnar has been through hell the last few weeks and is going to need all the love and support he can get when he comes home. The fighting has been very intense and I can tell he is pushing the limits of exhaustion.