A tough road home

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Wesley Engle
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Manpower Office
Coming home from a deployment can be tough. I've been on six so far, but the last one was by far the hardest to come back from. Not because I had such a great time but because so much had changed in my life while gone.

Before I finished Combat Airman Skills Training, I found out my wife was six weeks pregnant. I hadn't even started my year-long deployment yet and I knew I was going to miss the entire pregnancy. I was at least able to make it home for rest and recuperation to see my son born, but then it was back to Afghanistan for another five months to finish up my 365 days.

The whole time I was gone, life kept moving for my family back home. My wife was able to start bonding with our son, take care of the house and manage the household. Trying to find out where I'd fit in after being gone for a year was difficult to say the least. I thought it would be just as easy as all the times before; I was wrong.

I didn't know how to be a dad, which made everything else more challenging. I had all these assumptions and ideas of how things should be run around the house and how my son should be raised. Needless to say, tensions ran high for quite some time. The truth is I was the one who had to adapt to my new environment. The way things would run around the house was already established and for me to come in and demand things change wasn't right.

There are a lot of Airmen who come back from a long absence and run into the same kinds of situations, whether it's a new family member or a significant other taking care of business while they're gone. Regardless of the circumstances we need to be me mindful of the experiences others have gone through in our absence and make a solid effort to meet them in the middle. I can't tell you how to do that specifically, but I can tell you it might take longer than you think. It has been a year since I returned and things are getting better every day. The best advice I can give is to stay with it, and if you need help, do not be afraid to seek it out.