The above photo is of my daughter, granddaughter, and son-in-law on the day he arrived home after 8 months in Afghanistan. I had always heard about the sacrifices that military families make for our country, but only realized the truth of this statement after experiencing it firsthand.
Reuniting the family at the end of deployment is a wonderful and joyous occasion. However, these young parents should keep in mind the transition may take time. Reunification can be difficult because getting life back to “normal” may require a whole new idea of what “normal” means for the family. Parental roles and responsibilities may need to be reassigned. Dad may feel like he is no longer needed, as his tasks and responsibilities were taken over by mom when he was away. Mom may also have mixed feelings, as she carried a bulk of the responsibility while dad was away, and still managed to take care of the household on her own. This transition can cause a new set of feelings to arise in family members as roles are redefined and adjustments are made.
Dad may also feel like the baby is a stranger to him, so special care should be spent in getting to know the infant. No matter what challenges the family faces upon being reunited and no matter how difficult it might be to make the transition, this is what everyone wants and waited for, so it is worth putting in some extra effort to be together as a family again!