Military Wife Quote: The Past is a Foreign Country


Every time my husband comes home from an absence — whether it be one month or nine — I am astounded by how much things change while he is gone. Babies get bigger. Children learn new skills. I discover new strength within myself that I previously could not even fathom.

Time does not hold still during military absence. Change is inevitable. That’s why reintegration is so hard. Because when he comes home he expects things to have waited on him. But they couldn’t. And I expect him to fall right into sync with where we are. But he can’t.

We both want everything to be the same as it was. But it isn’t.

Solution? We both need to expect and welcome change.

That’s why a quote in this month’s Real Simple jumped at me.

“The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.” — L.P. Hartley.

Instead of longing for how we felt, acted and lived in the past — before TDY, before deployment, before the “new normal,” we must view the past as a foreign land.

We are in the now. Now is a different place. Now is a brave new world. And it’s OK for it to be different. It’s OK for there to be change.

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of’s spouse and family blog A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.