Being in the military, our men and women not only go through the toughest of training and work longer hours than most, but they too are subjected to deployments for various periods of time. This is undoubtedly a difficult time for them, as well as the significant others, family members and friends that they leave behind in the states, but it is something they must do, and being a part of their life, it is something you must do also. Without question, nothing in the military is ever set in stone; sadly, this includes R&R dates as well. Sometimes things happen that are out of our hands and all we can do is hurry up and wait. If the dates for your Soldier's, Marine's, Airman's, Sailor's or Coastie's leave is set and can not be changed though, the preparation in the states for his or her return home can commence.

Needless to say, I am sure that upon waiting for your loved one to return, you have started a countdown. As each day goes by, you take out your pen and mark the day off of the calendar and find comfort in the fact that you are one more day closer to the homecoming. If you are planning something, you may just want to hold off for a few days after he or she is home. While it would be a nice surprise to have an agenda of activities, you must remember that your loved one needs time to just relax and do nothing. Depending upon where the deployment was to, your loved one may have been subjected to things or may have seen things that he or she will need some time to reflect upon before jumping back into the normality of everyday life. If that is not the case, well, feel free to start planning!

Planning a gathering at your home with family and friends and even perhaps neighbors is always a good idea. Have each person bring something to eat and have a pot luck. This does not have to be on the day of arrival though. Everything will depend on arrival time, and as mentioned earlier, nothing in the military is ever set in stone, so just plan accordingly as well as being attentive to the length of the time off he or she is receiving. Weather providing, there are many things that you can make part of the agenda, for example, if you are a wife or husband, you may want to plan a quiet picnic at a local park for the pair of you and if you have children bring them along as well, but do not forget to plan time for just the two of you to spend together.

The list of things to do can get quite lengthy with amusement parks, cookouts, movies, dinners and the like. Remember that while you may have things planned, there may be things that your loved one wants to do that he or she has not told you about yet. Coming home from a deployment, he or she may have to get some things in order at the base before being able to participate in the rest and relaxation activities. Just being with your loved one again is among the happiest times, so make sure above all, that you have set aside some time to just do nothing but hang out, even if it is just watching the television.

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