If you thought your deployment ended the day your feet hit the ground back in the old U.S. of A.,
think again. In fact, coming home—and starting the process of rejoining and reintegrating into your
family—is just the beginning of one of the hardest phases of the deployment. This phase can be
divided into two basic stages: honeymoon and reintegration.
Your arrival at your front doorstep is just the beginning of a long process of reintegrating into your
family. During the honeymoon phase, you will experience nothing but rainbows and butterflies.
The first few days will be glorious, filled with hugs, kisses, and catching up on life with your kids
and family. Most likely, you will enjoy welcome-home parties and maybe even a romantic weekend
getaway where you and your partner can tentatively rediscover sex.
But after all that rose-colored dust settles, you’ll move into the reintegration, or Humpty-Dumpty period,
where life will be all about putting your family back together again. Reintegrating the family takes effort
and commitment on everyone’s part. Remember, your coparent has been managing the household
while you were gone, and the kids have grown and probably taken on new tasks too. Eventually the
family routine may return to what it was. Or your family will have to deal with a new “normal.”
This is the sixth in a series of six National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse Spotlights, which provide tips for dads on deployment. The series is authored by Armin Brott, a former Marine, fatherhood author (Ask Mr. Dad), and host of the radio show Positive Parenting for Military Families. The series was developed with assistance from Nigel Vann (Fathers Incorporated).
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