Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Reintegration Part I

Being that this is our 5th (and LAST!) deployment, I thought we were pros at reintegration.  I choose my battles, and goodness knows with three kids, there is plenty for both of us to do and keep us busy.

The one thing that drives me nuts?

Here is my status from FB yesterday:

ABW Wonders how she survived years driving while Chris was deployed and before I met him, but apparently lost all skills once he returned home. Thank goodness he is here to tell me how to drive, or I might not be able to function.

Someone said instead of like there should be an "Amen".  Most agreed with me.  A civilian friend said her husband would never do that and she wouldn't allow it.  

This all came to a head yesterday when I was driving Gunner's new car.

"Watch out for that parked car."
"This guy might try to cut you off."
"The light might turn red, you should slow down."

I glared at him, and asked him if he wanted to drive.  "Oh no, you're doing fine, I'm just helping."

A little history here.  I am old.  I got my driver's license when I was 16.  In order to do that, I had to pass my dad's strict driving lessons.  Basically that meant that I drove around an empty parking lot in first gear, having to stop and start.  Once I got that down, he would let me coast around in first gear and he would yell "STOP" to test my reaction time.  After passing that little bit of pure hell pure joy, I was able to start shifting gears.

From gear shifting we moved to practicing in a parking garage how to stop and start again without rolling backwards on an incline.  My poor dad spent hours with us behind the wheel making sure that we knew what was going on.  

Gunner?  He got his driver's license when he was 21 (they gave him one to drive a car, when all he had ever driven was a motorcycle).  The first car he drove was a military vehicle--a humvee, so thank goodness it was an automatic.  (Side note, his brother had never driven before and during his first assignment with the Army, he was told to drive a deuce and a half, while he had never driven before.  By the end of the day he felt courageous enough to shift to second gear, lol)  He could have benefited from my dad's "Learn how to drive" class.  Granted he has gotten a lot better over the years, a lot better.  

But.........cause there's always a but....

If I could drive while he was gone (almost a total of 5 years of deployments, and we won't even count field, TDY, and all that other times they are away)......do you think I have lost all ability?  

We do laugh about it, and he is getting better.  After our afternoon trip to the car dealer, I let him drive to go get the girls.  I pointed out how he scans the roads for IEDs, watches for anything out of the "norm", and has been known to drive aggressively like he is in a convoy.

So while I know this part will eventually fade, I do notice a lot of telling the other person how to do things.  While he tells me how to drive, etc., I tell him how to take care of the kids, how things should be done.  Usually by the time we get it ironed out, he is gone again, so we wait another year and start all over again. 

How do you handle this part of reintegration?