The Wounded Warrior Reflection

I imagine it would probably be pretty hard to be married to me. Independent, bordering on stubborn. Ambitious, yet oddly lazy. Overscheduled, but naps when life gets too overwhelming.

Sure, the eye candy factor is there. (Heh.) Volunteering and work and kid activities are out of control but can you imagine being thrown into an instant family with loud (but awesome) kids and an eccentric wife who is constantly on the go?

R will be thrown.

He will be thrown back into our crazy hectic lives very soon. I’m afraid that somehow blogging about it will jinx the actual retirement date but how much worse can everything get? I mean, honestly, between his accident, recovery, therapy, a huge thyroid the size of Texas and he’s still fine.

What I cannot seem to grasp is how I’ll need to change.

I look forward to being part of a parenting partnership for the first time in God knows how long. I look forward to consulting with another adult about our dinner plans, sharing chores, and holding hands. I look forward to being US again.

I will probably forget to consult R about day-to-day things, about oh-by-the-way-did-you-want-to-go-to-the-gym-too, about what he wants our master bedroom to look like. In case you’re wondering, it looks like MY room with chick lit and urban fantasy novels strewn about along with my odd collection of tank tops for every occasion.

There will be a lot of things we won’t be able to do or do as long. Last time R was home, the kids had an amazing school event… but the crowd made him nervous and the trip to the zoo two days prior had made the pain in his left leg much worse.

Today for Mother’s Day, we drove down to Sausalito and was annoyed by marveled at the number of people on their bikes and walking the trails. I doubt R would be able to do any of that.

Professional sports games are out of the question. Never mind that he has never been a sports fan but hey, beer and nachos make everything better, right? No more cheap seats on the lawn for us; R would never be able to sit on the ground. No more stadium seats either as the crowd and noise would probably make him retreat to the car.

I always wondered how certain social situations affected him. He’s fine at parties. Our house, his friends’ houses, at the house of a relative’s… it is not a problem for him.

Last Christmas he tried to mail some packages to family in Utah. The post office in December? Hello? He said he could do it himself but I offered to come along. He didn’t decline. After a few minutes in that crazy post office, he looked confused and lost. I handed him the car keys and whispered that I’d meet him in the car.

But I’m sure that I don’t help matters either. I’m pretty short so I zip in and out of crowds pretty easily. Once I have my mind set on getting a specific size box on the other side of a crowded post office, oh, mark my words, I will have it in my hands within minutes.

He met some friends at a bar a few weeks ago when he was still in Virginia and he couldn’t handle it. The noise, the music, dozens of people all around that he didn’t know. He had to leave.

If I had been through what he had been through, I would have had to leave as well.

I’ve started to have brief conversations with the kids about what it’ll mean to have Daddy back home. Nothing scary, nothing odd. Just little suggestions of how our schedule might change, how we’ll have to help Daddy out a bit. I hate crowds myself which is why we’re that family that shows up early to events and appointments so we get good parking, we get there early, we get in first, no crowds, and most importantly, we leave first. That won’t be a stretch.

The other day after telling the kids how we need to help Daddy when he gets home, M said, “Is that why you always tell me to go with Daddy to the store?”

Wow. I never realized that.

R gets flustered easily and forgets words. Sometimes he even curses his TBI.

Sadly, sometimes I don’t always sympathize because not all disabilities are visible and I forget he has them. That’s something I need to definitely work on.

For A’s first communion, R baked a beautiful lemon cake from scratch per her request. He said the cake was magnificent, a fact I do not deny. However he was unhappy with the frosting, which was also made from scratch. He was up until midnight baking the cake and almost threw the entire cake away because according to him, the frosting ruined the cake.

“Why did you frost the cake then if the frosting was so bad?” I asked. “Why didn’t you just make another batch of frosting?”

He looked at me and sighed. “I don’t know. I guess I was so set on getting this cake done I couldn’t step back and NOT frost the cake.”

I know we’ll all need therapy. He needs to get back into a regular therapy session. I need to attend training on caregiving, on being the other half of a couple, and all of the stuff I need to know on patience and how not to roll your eyes when it seems like your husband is making excuses. Wow, I sound like a total bitch. Totally need therapy, I know.

I know we’ll get through this transition but it still terrifies me.

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