Muscle ManIt’s no secret that I love writing stories about military heroes who are deployed.  Who could resist a guy who willingly sacrifices being apart from those he loves in order to protect them?  While there’s no question the conditions are harsh and frequently dangerous, what is it like for those he leaves behind?  Well…let me tell you!  My husband deployed to Afghanistan nearly six months ago, and my two daughters and I were left to keep the homefires burning.  These past six months have been interesting, to say the least.  We celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas without him, and both of our daughters had birthdays while he was gone.  On our wedding anniversary, I received two dozen red roses, but there was nobody to share a glass of champagne with.   Initially, I was nervous of being in the house at night without him.  Every creak, every bump, was someone trying to break in and I would lay awake, unable to sleep.  Or I would hear about a mortar attack on the base where he was stationed, and spend hours worrying about him until he finally called to assure me he was okay.

On the other hand, my girls and I adopted a schedule that was very relaxed.  Aside from the holiday meals, I rarely cooked dinner.  Instead, we would eat out or order in, or I would throw together a salad and we’d eat in the family room while watching reruns of How I Met Your Mother.   If I wanted to go to bed at eight o’clock, I did.  If we wanted to stay in our pajamas all day on a lazy Sunday, we did.  Not that my husband would have objected to any of this, but our schedule when he is  home is much more structured.  And while I love all the manly things about my husband, I didn’t miss stepping over his toolboxes or his workboots, or having to constantly remove some grease-covered boat part from where he had left in on the  kitchen counter.

I did notice that my social life suffered quite a bit.  I received fewer invites to house parties, and would frequently have to decline an invitation to a girls’ night out because I was on call to pick up a child from work, play rehearsal, sports, etc.   Then there were the crises that I had to handle on my own, like the frantic phone call I received while on my way home from work, that our dog had been struck by a car (thankfully, he survived).  Or the day my daughter was in a car accident that totaled her father’s Jeep (thankfully, she and the boy who struck her walked away without any injuries).  Or the call I received from my mother-in-law that she had been diagnosed with colon cancer, but she made me promise not to tell my husband until after she had undergone surgery.  Then there was the long, emotional process of our oldest daughter applying to college and choosing where she would go to school.  All of these things were made more stressful for not having my partner there to shoulder some of the burden, and I have an enormous amount of respect for every woman out there who is doing this on her own, every day.

But I also  learned a lot about myself these past six months, most importantly that I appreciate my husband and everything he brings to our lives.   We’ve been together since we were teenagers and he always knows how to make me laugh.  I have a tendency to overreact about the smallest things, and he has the ability to help me put things back  into perspective.   A big trunk arrived yesterday from Afghanistan containing his uniforms and personal items, and he’ll follow in exactly one week.    So our lives will change, but I think the biggest adjustment will be for him, as he realizes that all of his girls have grown a little stronger in his absence.

I’m excited about my May release, Coming Up for Air, which features one of my favorite heroes, Chance Rawlins.  He’s deployed as an Apache helicopter pilot, but the woman he’s crazy about is deployed alongside him.  And he’s about to discover for himself just how strong she is.   I hope you’ll pick up a copy and read their story.   Happy April, and thanks for stopping by!




7 Responses to “Homecoming”
  1. katie says:

    Lots of hugs and love to you. I always think of not only the soldiers over there, but the families left behind. I worry a lot about families who have special needs kids, especially (my husband isn’t in the military, but he has an extended “busy season’ and I have to make a lot of decisions about my sons’ education, especially my oldest who has autism, especially since I have a teaching degree endorsements in special ed, I deal with the teachers on a daily basis and the crises that ensue). Anyhoo, thank YOU for all YOU do to support your loved one overseas.

  2. Kim h says:

    Glad he is coming backand safe great story, congrats on the book 🙂

  3. Alina D says:

    Hi Karen! So happy for you that your hubby is getting home soon. My hubby never had to deploy since we have been married. He did go to Kuwait before we got together, but then shortly after we got married he broke his back and was non-deployable. He hated that he couldn’t go after 9-11. He was medically retired in 04. My BIL just got home from his 4th tour over there and my nephew in on the 15th MEU right now. It really is hard for both the person deploying and the family back home not only while they are gone, but when they get home. I was just talking about this to another woman at our kids soccer practice. Her husband is Army National Guard and he got home from Afganistan in september and they are just now getting things back to normal. He came home to a wife who got used to being mom and dad the whole time he was gone and kids who have grown and changed. It’s not easy for anyone. I do hope your home coming goes smoothly and getting back to normal is quick.

    Hope you have a wonderful homecoming! 🙂

  4. Donna McClure says:

    I look forward to your book coming out in May.

    Thank you & your family for keeping “home” a place than can & will welcome back your husband. Thank him for his service & all of you for giving what you do. I can only imagine what it must be like to have one of the family gone for extended periods of time. Enjoy the homecoming.

    I hope you have had a Happy Easter.

  5. Ruth Chestnut says:

    Karen, glad he’s coming home to you safe and sound. You have one of the hardest jobs in the world being a military wife. Thank you and your husband for your service. I like books with military hero’s, so I will be picking up your book in May.


  6. Jessie Llewellyn says:

    Can’t wait for this book! Looking forward to reading it. I love reading the military love stories.

  7. Lori says:

    Sounds like a great book and I look forward to reading it. Good luck

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