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Elaine Dumler - Elaine@ImAlreadyHome.com - 866.780.0460

Reproducible Articles
 
Part 1 of 
Reunion Series
 
"Coming Home:
Reconnection Strategies"
Article Series 
 
I'm Already Home... Again
I'm Already Home... Again
 
The Road Home
The Road Home
 
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Elaine Dumler
6460 W. 98th Court
Westminster, CO 80021
866-780-0460 - phone
303-430-7679 - fax
 

We had 17 requests for the free Flip Tips book from the last audio I attached to the articles on Employment. From those 17 one name was drawn to receive a Starbuck's gift card. And the winner is...Ellen Perry! Congratulations, and we'll be starting up the audios again next time so be sure to listen.

 

As a serviceperson you don't deploy alone. When you left you took with you the family members, friends, and colleagues who care about you and your well-being. More than 57.6 million people are impacted by service members who deploy. When you return home, you are also coming home to all those other people. This next article series on reunion and reintegration is a first look at the joys, challenges, and issues involved in bringing you back to your life here at home following deployment. This process is something that takes time and should be considered a journey you and your family are on together. Throughout this series, I'll present an overview of reconnection strategies and ideas in different areas of your life to help you begin to adjust to being back home. Today's article is a short one, dealing only with your preparations, planning and parties. Remember, you can reprint these articles in your newsletters to help more people. 

For the Family - Preparing for homecoming

The first days and weeks of homecoming are exciting and usually involve ceremonies and "welcome home" activities. Here are some ways to help make this time as wonderful as you expect, while not raising stress levels.

  • Keep the lines of communication open with your ombudsman or FRG leader. They will need to keep you updated with travel and arrival changes. 
  • FRG suggestion - Create a "Welcome Home" banner with ALL the unit serviceperson's names on it. There will be some returnees who do not have a family member or friend to welcome them, so including everyone will ensure no one is left out!
  • When meeting your serviceperson, have a large poster with his/her name on it so it can be spotted easily.
  • Bring someone who can take pictures for you to the welcome home ceremony - just someone who knows you but doesn't need to be involved in the hugging. Why?
    • It allows you to focus on the reunion without worrying about the pictures.
    • The photographer is an "observer" and can capture your moments.
    • You get to be in the pictures instead of behind the camera.
  • Everyone is different in what they envision for their reunion. Include your returning serviceperson in your homecoming party plans so he/she knows what to expect. You should discuss:
    • Does he/she want a party immediately, or to wait a few weeks to settle in?
    • Should the party be large enough to include extended family members and friends, or just those of you at home?
  • During the first few days, realize that your returning serviceperson will likely want to sleep. Don't be offended by this. It takes time to physically adjust and soon he/she will get back into the groove.

Speaking of Parties:  Some options to get you started

Small and intimate: "We had a small welcome home party with just my returning wife, me, and the kids. I made a great dinner and just let her sit back and enjoy."

 

Later and informal: "We waited about two or three weeks and had a big outside barbeque with our parents and friends. My returning loved one was so grateful that she didn't have to have lots of people around right away."

 

A Block party: This one is great for even shorter assignments. "When my husband returned, we included everyone in a welcome home block party in the neighborhood. People helped by preparing dishes, we set up grills in the street, and my husband felt free to 'hang back' and reconnect as he wanted to."

 

A great gift idea: One mother kept a copy of all the emails and replies she exchanged with her son during his assignment. She printed and three-hole punched them, and put them together in a notebook. She gave him this book at his homecoming party. As he was readjusting to being home, he loved rereading these because it let him remember all he had done on assignment to help others.

 

Welcome home. The next articles will begin to focus on getting back into routines...including intimacy. We'll even include a segment directed exclusively for the returning service member.

I invite you to reprint this and share it wherever you think it will be useful. Please follow these guidelines for reprinting this article: 
  • The article must not be rewritten. You may edit for length only.
  • The article must include this permission/bio at the end: Article written by Elaine Dumler and reprinted from her newsletter with permission.
  • For military family books and information on briefings, visit www.ImAlreadyHome.com or email Elaine@ImAlreadyHome.com