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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 29 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 48
Kiki with D: When Johnny comes marching home
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Kiki with D: When Johnny comes marching home

by D Smith - SGN Contributing Writer

Dear D,

My husband of many years is nearing the end of two years of military deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan. He's due to come back for good in a few months.

Everyone around me has been very sympathetic and supportive of my family during his deployment. He himself has let it be known over and over again how anxious he is to get back home and resume his life here. I get comments all the time about how difficult this must be for me, and how glad I must be to know he'll be home this year.

Well, actually, I am wracked with dread.

While I am anxious for him to be out of harm's way, I am not looking forward to him resuming his place at home. Our kids (teenagers) and I have created lives without him - we have our work, school, and social schedules the way we like them. Things are different than they were when he left. My husband is a bit rigid about how he wants things done at home. The kids and I have found that we like a more relaxed approach to life. For example, we've taken a couple of vacations that he would never have agreed to because it's not what he'd want to do. I have been able to cook whatever I want because he's not here to weigh in. I go to bed when I want, watch what I want on TV, or don't watch it at all.

I love him - and like him - but when I look at my life and what my stress level is now (low) compared with what I anticipate it being when he returns, I wonder if I'm going to make it through this homecoming and re-entry into family life. And just in case anyone wonders, no, nobody else has entered the picture. The thought that 'there's somebody better out there' has not entered my mind. That's the thing - I think I just want to be by myself (with the kids).

I'm wondering if this means that I am selfish. Not a good partner. If I am a control freak.

Or is this a common feeling among military wives and husbands who get used to life for long periods without their soldier? Have any of your readers experienced anything similar? I can't talk about this with the military families we know - word would go straight back to my husband, and I don't want to hurt him needlessly if it's just cold feet.

I should say that my husband is not career military. He's a reservist who volunteered to go active duty, so his deployments have not been against his will. I admire him tremendously for wanting to serve, and the example it's given our kids has been a very positive one. - Looking at Life Outside Military


Dear Looking,

Thanks so much for sending this letter, because there are probably a lot of people out there - military spouses and other people in long-distance relationships - who have had similar thoughts but have been afraid to admit them. You're not a jerk. And your feelings are normal.

I remember a friend of mine coming to me for advice years ago when she was coping with her military husband's return from a year-long deployment. Sure, she was psyched that he was finally by her side, but she wanted to claw his eyes out for loading the dishwasher all wrong. Her husband wasn't just her husband. He was an annoying roommate who was messing up her house.

Luckily, the military has support for spouses dealing with these situations. If you reach out, there should be a person to talk to about adjusting to real life.

Being away changes both people in a long-distance relationship. Your husband might come home wanting to take different types of vacations. He might be excited to try the recipes that you've concocted while he was away. He's certainly going to be curious about the routine you've established with the kids.

Yes, he will annoy you, and no, you won't have queen-like rule over the television anymore, but there will be benefits to having him home that you can't even imagine right now.

My advice is to (a) seek out those military helpers and (b) give your husband the benefit of the doubt. You respect all that he's done over the past two years. He also respects what you've accomplished while he's been away. Start thinking of his homecoming as another chapter in a marriage that will continue to require adjustments, new routines, and getting to know each other all over again. It'll be awkward but you'll figure it out together. That is the beauty of being married.

Hope this helps. Remember be true to you, love yourself, and encourage yourself and others. - D

Dearest D,

I'm honestly not sure how to begin this letter.

My heart tells me to write it, but my mind tells me that it would not be advisable, as it could be tracked back to me. I'm fearful. I know that your column tends to sway toward relationship issues, but what's on my plate isn't so lovey-dovey.

I'm not one to complain. Honestly, I do everything in my power not to. I'm a nice guy; one who prefers to suffer in silence. Unfortunately, I hate every day of the week that isn't Sat or Sun. It's difficult for me to get out of bed in the morning, knowing that I have to go to work; I spend the rest of the day counting minutes until I can leave the office.

Why?

The only interactions I have with my boss are when he's pissed off and screaming at me, or his explanations regarding why I won't be getting a check that week. My supervisor, who calls himself a close friend of mine, is a softer version of the berating I already know is always coming. Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, is literally a living hell. I already know that you're going to tell me to quit the job and/or talk to the people I'm referring to about how I feel, but the job is cool, and as of this point I would prefer not to discuss the people I work with.

I don't know what to ask you specifically. I just need guidance. - Survivor of the Week


Dear Survivor,

It seems to me that you are in a rut. Your mindset is not working for you. If there is anything in your life that is not bringing you joy, you are the only one who can change that. There are a number of ways to go about making changes. Remember, it's all about your mindset.

Currently your mind is set to be a weekend warrior! Live for the weekend. You can't wait for Friday to arrive so that you can get it in on Sat. and Sun. - no work. Am I right? You have to find little ways throughout the week/workday to make it more interesting for you.

You can get a Zen garden or take time during your lunch break to meditate. Take a walk to clear your mind and release the stress of the day. Taking time out of the office helps you refocus and readjust yourself to deal with the stresses of work.

Everything is becoming routine and boring. Not in a good way. This is a good time to make some changes, make things interesting for you, change your mindset, and start looking for new ways to challenge yourself.

You can start making it a game. Or a musical in your mind, with your boss and co-workers as the characters. Just imagine that 'if I do this & the boss is going to say or do that.' Now, keep in mind I am not advising you to do anything out of the ordinary, but just to expect the unexpected.

Notice the routines that people around the office have. There is a person in my office who goes to the water cooler every hour on the hour. I sometimes pretend the office noise is an orchestra and I am the conductor and get a laugh out of it.

Be creative, use your imagination, and have fun.

Hope this helps. Remember be true to you, love yourself, and encourage yourself and others. - D

Life problems bringing you down? Have a burning question? Can't tell your girlfriend? Hit me up! E-mail KikiWithD@gmail.com

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