So Mr M comes home for holiday block leave this month. He gets two weeks at home, and it’s his first time home since enlisting. Two weeks is far too short, and I kept thinking “how am I supposed to make up for all that time apart in such a small amount of time?” I started thinking up ways to try and pack every moment together full of the things we love to do, so that we could make up for “lost time.” In doing so though, I realized I wasn’t actually going to be spending any time with my husband.
You see, the hardest part of having him home is that I feel like I need to make up for the time we’ve spent apart. I want the whole two weeks to be special, so I started trying to find ways to make each day special like I would for important date nights before he enlisted. It was too much though. I was planning out the whole two weeks and accounting for every minute. I didn’t leave any time for spontaneity or to just enjoy each other’s company.
One night, talking to Mr M on the phone, and telling him about all the grand plans I had, he said “it’s going to be special enough just to be home with you, you don’t have to go out of your way so much.” As usual, he had such simple and beautiful insight into something that was nagging at me incessantly. I wasn’t thinking about what he wanted, and what would be meaningful to the two of us now, after so much time apart; instead I was thinking about what would have been a special occasion for us six months ago, neglecting the fact that just having him home is a special occasion in and of itself.
Add on to that how busy the holidays are for us, between family, friends, and my work schedule…. I was setting myself up for a load of stress and disappointment. I had to step back and look at everything with fresh eyes. I don’t need to make special occasions, because having him home is special. I can still celebrate that, but I need to focus on things that let us enjoy our time together, instead of packing our schedule so tight that we don’t have a spare moment between us.
Dinner and a movie on the couch, staying up till 2am playing Army of Two, coffee on Sunday mornings, playing cribbage, walking the dog together every night… these are the little moments I miss the most. These are the moments which break my heart when I think about them, because they’re the moments I would give anything to have back every day. I was ignoring the opportunity to have that back for two weeks, because I thought it wouldn’t be special enough, and thinking about the fact that I almost gave up those moments for dinner out and going to the movies, it makes me glad that Mr M said something when he did.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do special things together, or that I’m not going to either. We’ve got Christmas dinner planned, tickets to a hockey game, and reservations for two for a nice date night. But the rest of it? We’re going to enjoy our time together and see what we feel like doing. We know it’s not going to be exactly like it was, and we aren’t going to try and act like it will be, but we need to find our new normal, and now is as good a time as any to start. Instead of stressing over being “on” constantly, and making every moment of the next two weeks into one long dragged out date, we’re just going to be married and take it one day at a time.