The ugly truth about reintegration


It sucks at times. Yep, I said it. I know you all expected wine, roses, and laughter, but sorry not this time.

This is our 5th time reintegrating and I dread EVERY SINGLE second of it.

This time is different because of the ages of our kids.

And our dynamic as a couple is different because of what we both endured separately.

Our little guy is really struggling. He does NOT want to share Dad with anyone. My heart breaks for him. He struggled the whole deployment with separation anxiety. He was very nervous today that The Man would leave to run an errand without him. I, being the stellar mom that I am, had a “tone.” The Man asked me to not be annoyed sounding. That is difficult since I have lived with this for a year. Most of the time it breaks my heart, but sometimes it is just wearing. I have NEVER forgotten him anywhere and never would, just for the record.

The Man has been home 4 nights and the little guy has been in our bed 2 of them. He is not sleeping or eating well. Who knew?! I had a different expectation. I thought the little guy would be less stressed.

I feel myself being one of those annoying people who is always checking to see if everything is okay. I am always asking, “do you need anything?,” “can I help you with something?,” “is it too much?” Ugh! I hate feeling like the ground has shifted beneath us.

The Man likes to take care of me. He likes to put gas in the car. He wants to “do things,” but the reality is that it makes me feel incompetent, like I somehow failed.

Take the new dog. The Man mentioned over FaceTime, before he came home, that Max is out of control. My feelings were hurt because we had been taking the dog to dog obedience and I thought he had made great strides. Granted, he is still a tad hyper, but I can’t help that. It is his personality and he will grow out of it at some point and calm down. But I find myself worried sick that The Man will not like the dog and I burdened him with another animal for the next 13+ years.

We did so much better over the phone. Yep, I said that too.

I know in 6 months we will have a semblance of order and I will be praying for a TDY (means temporary duty assignment…a trip somewhere).  In the meantime, we have to get through the awkwardness.

Our last reintegration was even more difficult. The Man came home with a newfound appreciation of our Catholic faith. He had always been more faithful than his wife, but this was beyond what I could imagine.

And I couldn’t really complain to my friends that I hated the fact that my husband was religious because seriously how can that be bad, right? Well, it was excrutiating for me.

It took about a year for us (okay me) to come to terms with things and get it together.

Reintegration is hard and painful. The Man has to get use to the madness of 3 kids and 2 new dogs.  I have to remember that he is an introvert by nature.

Pray for us please.


  1. Priscilla says:

    I could not of said it better. No trench coats here. I kept thinking about how much I missed him and how much I loved him, but for some reason it was so hard letting go of my routine my since of order and control when he came home!

  2. This is all real and true. And it really does take about 6 months to get back into a routine. Even though you’ve been home and have had your routine, when the man of the house shows up again, the routine is very much changed, again. It takes everyone time to get back into the swing of things, per say. And, yes, each reintegration is very different. What worked last time is certainly not guaranteed to work this time. People who have never gone through a deployment have no idea. I’m sure they are shocked to hear its not all “wine, roses and laughter.” At the same time they should not get the impression we aren’t happy to have our loved home. We are thrilled they aren’t suffering in heat and exhaustion or, worse, getting shot at. But, its just hard. Thinking and praying for all of you and the little guy. Hugs! And a big welcome home to the hubby!

    • Jennifer W says:

      Of course I am thrilled The Man is home, but there is a huge adjustment period as you mentioned. We are all navigating new waters. The Man and I have verbal tools that we use for the navigation. Unfortunately, the kids don’t have those sophisticated tools and behavior (good, bad, or indifferent) is their tool of choice. And thank you for the hugs and prayers. We can ALWAYS use more prayers.

  3. i have been thinking of you – and praying over your family this past week as we too are going through our own transition. you are a strong woman but i hope you find some time to let go of the details and the process to enjoy the transition…. i hope the reintegration takes much less time than anticipated!!

    • Jennifer W says:

      And I have been thinking of you with your different transition. I pray that you and your family find peace. Thanks for praying over us this week. We love prayers, prayers, and more prayers! And I hope the reintegration takes less time than anticipated also.

  4. Good luck, Whiskeymans! I always hated reintegration. I have to admit I’m that one “horrible wife” who always gets pshed at for dreading it. It’s not that I don’t want him home; it’s that I’m not good with change. I enjoy having my “single” life and hanging out with my friends, all of who I know will disappear as soon as the planes land. I enjoy many things about being alone (surprise, surprise — I’m an introvert by nature, too). I also enjoy not having to trip over boots and duffel bags and deal with uniforms and such. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard snarky, demeaning comments because of my feelings about it. And especially when he was being deployed every 9-12 months. It takes six to get used to the new routine, then they’re home in six, then get six to get used to that, then they’re gone in three to six, etc. I know you know. And I feel so sad for the Little Guy! I cannot imagine what he’s going through and I wish I had some advice to help you guys with it. The only thing I’ve had to deal with is my oldest wanting him gone all the time. It’s a bizarre triangle we have, my husband, my oldest, and me.

    Anyway. Don’t beat yourself up over it and try to stay chill. And don’t feel bad about needing a break from the madness, either. Take one. Take seven. Whatever helps.

    • Jennifer W says:

      I took a break today, as a matter of fact. The Man and the littles went to the littles’ last golf practice and I stayed home, alone for 3 hours. Doesn’t seem like much to most people, but it was a nice respite.

      I am with you about enjoying alone time, and I’m an extrovert. I love my computer and all of my online “battle buddies.” Thankfully you all will still be here :)

      Thanks the good wishes! (I’d say prayers, but that may be pushing my luck hahaha)

  5. A mutual friend – Jess B – recommended your blog. What a great introduction!

    No, seriously. I used to be a career firefighter. I left that job due to back that failed me (off the job), and went to work with my husband, for his parents. We were never that couple that checked in with each other 7 times a day. Friends worry because we don’t do everything together… bless.their.hearts.

    We all have to find our own normal, and it’s an almost elusive, shifting thing.

    • Jennifer W says:

      Thanks for stopping by, and thank Jess B for me too :)

      You are soooo right….we all have to find our new normal! Change is always hard. We will work it out.

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