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Family Matters Blog: War Bride, Minus the War

By Rebekah Sanderlin
Family Matters Guest Blogger

WASHINGTON, May 20, 2011 – Guest blogger Rebekah Sanderlin, a journalist and an Army wife at Fort Bragg, N.C., has been writing about military family life on her Operation Marriage blog since 2006. She and her husband, a master sergeant, are attempting to raise a son, a daughter and two yellow labradors despite multiple combat deployments and a television that seems to be stuck on "Dora the Explorer." This post also appeared on the Blue Star Families Blog. - Elaine Sanchez

I am a very good war bride.

That’s not just bluster on my part; that statement has been tested and proven, time and again. But take away the war and, as I’ve learned in this past year of no deployments, I am not a very good bride.

Sure, I can handle all the chores on my own. I’ve installed a thermostat, a backyard fence and even a toilet sans husband; mowing the grass is a breeze. I can put together a care package like a champ and know exactly when to take it to the post office to avoid the longest lines. I’ve given birth alone in the middle of a hurricane and seen two babies grow from newborn to near-toddlerhood with nary an adult around to help. I make a mean batch of family readiness group brownies, I rock at putting together the “we miss you” slideshows to send downrange and I can even listen to “Blood on the Risers” now without cringing. Let me tell ya’, Rosie the Riveter’s got nothing on me -- I can do it all alone.

What I can’t seem to do is anything together.

This togetherness bit is a whole new test for my husband and me, one that probably doesn’t make any sense to those of you suffering through your first deployment or to those who can’t fathom spending more than half your marriage apart. But I bet there are a few of you out there wearing knowing smiles and nodding your heads as you read this.

My husband and I have gotten so good at doing things all by ourselves that we can’t figure out how to do them together, and even a year of togetherness has yet to fix that. We still trip over each other in the house. We still can’t coordinate our bedtimes. We still get frustrated, resentful, angry and irritated that the other one doesn’t do things the way we would do them. It’s like we’re stuck in that awful newlywed time, that time when the honeymoon has worn off but familiarity has yet to set in. And we can’t seem to get out of it.

To be perfectly honest, this is really more my problem than his. He has adjusted to being home far better than I have adjusted to having him here, which makes sense, I guess. It’s not like he was deployed by himself all those times. He went with a bunch of people; people he had to work and live closely with.

I, on the other hand, shared my space with just two little people -- two little people who had to do exactly what I wanted them to do because if they didn’t want to I could pick them up and make them do it anyway. I can’t pick up my husband, though I have been tempted to try. So he has more practice at this sharing thing than I do. And it has gotten better with time, but it’s still not great.

So tell me, after all this time spent turning myself into good ol’ Rosie the war bride, how to I morph back to being just a regular bride?

For more family-related posts like this one, visit Family Matters Blog or check out Family Matters on Facebook and Twitter.


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