There are some thing we find difficult to deal with. We are getting used to the long trips. It seems that we will not ever go back "over there", but be here indefinitely. What an odd concept to my brain - having grown up as a gypsy! But here we are. It nice here, really. Our kids are settled and developing friendships that last years - something I never had as a child.
But it means that a few times a year, my husband will be gone for about a month. I get used to these trips, I guess. It is easier now with older kids who do not need so much supervision and assistance. I get lonely, but reaching out to others and asking to drop by are things I can work on. Coming home is always a struggle - fitting back into being a two parent family after being a single parent... it takes adjustment. Thankfully, in the early years of our marriage, we lived near an army base and were friends with many military families. We learned a lot from these families - lessons we value today. Some of those were about how to handle absences and then the reunions. It is still a struggle, but at least we know to expect it.
What is hard for us is other people's assumptions. When I was gone for a three week trip, those three weeks were busy. There was no weekend off, there were no evenings free. It was a full out busy time. I arrived home to stuff piled up for me and people asking, "So how was your vacation?"
My husband arrived home after four and a half weeks of hard work, and we had scheduled a family vacation. We had planned this vacation last year, but it had to be canceled after the "adventure" of last year. This year, we were determined to do it. He had been gone over four weekends, so that was eight extra days of work if you look how many days he would have been at the office if he had been here. You'd think there would be a policy to give those days back to him. Eight days of vacation are not exactly vacation days, but "given back days".
And he even took one morning of the vacation to deal with some office work, phoning in to talk and plan with some people. But, no. Before we even got home, we had piles of e-mails lined up. "You haven't done this." "This has been here so long and not done." "What has been happening - nothing is right." "How come you haven't answered that?"
All the various writers of these letters know why. Because he was gone, and then he was on vacation. No one will die if he is gone for a week. Did they honestly expect him to stay up late on our holiday to open his computer and deal with mundane office work?!
All that nagging... it makes us want to quit. To look elsewhere for something to do. There have to be days that people understand that he was gone four and a half weeks, and then we need some family time... which should be uninterrupted by nagging coworkers.
We're growing frustrated with this stuff. We feel that we as a family can figure out and work through the adjustments of a few long trips a year, but that the team we work with also needs to adjust their way of thinking. We've tried to fight for "family days" given as compensation for long trips.... but they need to understand that a family day does not mean that we should be sent four to five nagging e-mails each day.
We need wisdom in how to deal with this. The same problems as last year - different offenders, same problems. I think the only reason the main offender of last year did not reoffend is that I strongly warned him that we were on vacation spending time with just our family and would get back to him on such and such a date. Maybe we need to be so clear with the others. It is tiring. My husband's first week back, and it is daily complaints about what he has not done. We're back to crawling in bed as soon as the kids go to bed, emotionally exhausted. It's tiring.