For all the times I wished to be left alone, I never want to be left alone again. The cliché saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is 100% true. I got a hard look at what your absence is like this summer while you traveled for work. I thought it would be hard and it was. There were things that weren’t as hard as I thought they’d be and I handled life with you gone, but it’s just too good to have you home.
I missed you like crazy.
Having only been apart a few times since we’ve been together made this time new and scary for me. I worried about you constantly. Were you getting enough to eat? You love home-cooked meals, which made me think that road food had to be awful for you. Your work puts you outside in the heat — were you staying hydrated? The few times we had been apart left me with the knowledge that you don’t sleep well away from home and I worried because your job has you behind the wheel and working with equipment a lot. Were you getting enough rest? Of course there was loneliness too. Cooking dinner for three and eating alone with the kids became a chore. I often opted for easy kid food and sent them to bed early. Then, I would sit on the balcony looking at your chair and wait for text messages letting me know how you were. We were in different time zones and the hour between us kept me waiting for you to text back.
The kids had different reactions.
The little one cried for you morning, noon, and night. She always loved seeing you off to work and now that was missing. During the day she would have behaviors that I had to correct. I tried to take it easy on them knowing it was a hard time for them too. She took every inch I would give, then would turn around and throw it back in my face with “I don’t want you. I want my daddy.” With a tearful little face that broke my heart she would come find me after her time out and sob even harder while snuggling me. We often cried together. The oldest one took it in stride. He has a year and a half on her and the slight difference in emotional maturity turned out to be rather large. He never said much about it, but when you were mentioned, I could see he was sad. His little eyes and ears take in everything and when you could no longer afford to come home every weekend, he started asking if you would ever come home at all.
That’s when I broke.
Without you around the house was less messy, my duties were the same, and we developed a bit of a routine. But I began to wonder when it would end. A job that was supposed to last ten days had stretched to a month, then to two. Then you had to start giving up weekends with us because it was just too much. Too much expense, too much maintenance on the truck, too much exhaustion driving twelve hours to spend one and a half days with us. I began to feel a similar exhaustion in my soul. When would you come home to us? Was this our life? You took the job to try to get ahead, but the promises made were not being kept by your employer. Having a good work ethic you powered on, while I started to power down. My once lived-for-weekends-with-you attitude became more of the week-of-raising-children-without-help. Then, the day came when you said enough was enough. You landed a job quickly and you have been home ever since.
I wish I could say none of us will look back, but I think it’s important that we do.
You come home marking my freshly mopped floors with your dirty boots and I think, often too late, of what it was like when your boots were somewhere else. Sometimes you are tired and crabby with the kids because working and coming home to chaos is HARD. I hope you stop and think of the times you were living with “a bunch of grown dudes no better than the kids.”