It’s been stressful these last few days. The oldest didn’t want to go to school because she was being referred to as ‘the new girl’. Then, to top it off, she hasn’t eaten dinner in like five days now. She has to at least try everything, which she’s doing but a single bite of lasagna that she spits out isn’t really going to hold her until morning. But I refuse to be a short order cook and I refuse to make peanut butter and jelly for dinner. So we’re working through that, but as a result of her not eating, the littlest daughter is skipping dinner.

The end result of skipping dinner? Bed time is an absolute nightmare and mornings are even more fun. They’re hungry, they’re tired and they’re not even close to enjoyable. So at the end of my mind, I called my friend Tamara, who’s also just back from a deployment. I needed help. I needed to confess what was going on and ask how the heck is she doing it.

You know what she told me? She said you need to wake up every morning, and pray and be grateful. You have today to love those little girls and be with them. You need to ask for help with being patient and just be grateful that you have today with them. She really got me with that one. Tamara knows me. We went through Officer Candidate School together and each of us dealt with missing our kids and we’ve helped each other through our respective deployments. When our daughters saw each other at school, they were so happy to see each other.

That’s the kind of friend you need at a time like this. At a time when you’re ready to pull your hair out, instead you sit on the bathroom floor and talk through it. You can talk about what’s really bothering you and your friend will tell you to pull yourself up and get over it. If you don’t like it, change it.

So I did. The next morning, I rolled out of bed and made a change. No more yelling. Getting down on their levels. Smiling and hugging instead of worrying about being late. Enjoying the fact that I’m home, that I have my daughters back and, surprise, they still love me and my husband.

And it worked. Last night, no major out bursts. No yelling. This morning, there were tears, but for the most part, we got through it with hugs and smiles.

You wouldn’t think that coming home would be that stressful. You’d think it would be a panacea of happiness. It is but it also isn’t. There’s no one here to run interference for Scott and I, except each other. The best part about our year in Iraq was the fact that we grew closer as a couple and are able to talk through stuff that before, we’d argued about.

So the challenges continue with our coming home and I’m sure they’ll keep on. But at the end of it all, I spent a year longing for this. I will appreciate today, because I might not have tomorrow.

Thank you, Tamara, for being the friend to tell me straight and let me lean on you.