When my son came home in 2005 after his deployment, we didn’t know what to expect. Our family didn’t quite know what to do or how to help our returning soldier. There was this “push-pull effect” going on with our family dynamics.
I wanted to pull my soldier toward us and fuss over him, hug him, make him his favorite meals, call him on the phone all the time, and just watch him sleep because I was beside myself with joy that he was home.
At the same time, we wanted to respect our son’s privacy and give him space to re-enter civilian life and not push him away from us by suffocating him with our good intentions. This article contains suggestions on returning to a “normal” life at home when normal means something different after a deployment.
The old adage,“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” helped us stay connected. I would:
*Call my son and invite him to come to dinner at our home
*Surprise him at his work place with lunch and homemade cookies
*Show up at his apartment with dinner and enough for left overs
Remember to be patient. Listen. Reach out. Stay connected. Don’t be afraid to reach out to experts. Everyone heals at their own pace.
What are ways you helped your soldier return to “normal” after a deployment?