DH is traveling again. Nothing new; he's been doing it for almost 18 years. And, even before that, we spent three months living apart during the week while he worked at a new job hours away and the boys and I stayed behind at our old house until the lease was up (and DD1 was born; between being 7 months pregnant and having 3 months to go on our rental agreement, relocating the whole family didn't seem like the best decision at the time DH accepted the job that paid twice as much as the one he had).
Just because he's been away, frequently, for so many years doesn't mean I have gotten used to it. Doesn't mean I particularly like it. Sometimes, it is nice to have a break from him--come on, wives, admit that you've thought more than once that you'd just like your hubby to go away for a while so you didn't have to deal with his dirty underwear on the floor, chest hairs on the bathroom counter, beard hairs in the sink, the farts and belches. . . But usually his absence is just disruptive to the routine of life, and kind of lonely. He's my best buddy. How many of us aren't lonely when we're separated from our best buddy for too long?
I'm not sleeping well in his absence. The bed is too big, and too empty. Not to mention cold. He's my furnace. Who needs an electric blanket with a big warm hubby next to them? I think I should put the flannel sheets on the bed, just until he returns.
He calls when he can, but, it's just not the same as being able to talk to him face to face. Especially when two minutes into a conversation, the only time in 24 hours I've heard his voice, he starts to cut out because of call waiting on his cell phone and says "Oh, got to go, I've got a work call coming in, sorry." Sorry. I know he's sorry he can't stay on the line until I've had more time with him. But that doesn't make it any easier for me. In fact, it just adds to the feeling of his job being more important than I am. Of his job trying to pull our family apart. Being two time zones away from each other, I'm usually fast asleep by the time his ten-to-twelve-hour (and sometimes up to fifteen hour!) work day followed by dinner with his traveling crew ends. And when I'm getting up in the morning, it's still the wee hours of the night where he is, so we can't talk then either.
It isn't easy to keep a family together like this. Not when Dad has to miss birthdays, important school events, and other milestones. On one hand, the kids say "Oh, I'm used to it, Dad's been gone my whole life," as a way of dismissing his travels. On the other hand, they are now old enough to realize that having Dad popping in and out frequently wasn't ideal, and that they don't have quite the same type of relationship with their father that their friends have with theirs.
It's hard on a mom to see that. It's hard on a wife to have her husband gone on their anniversary more years than he's home for it.
Some would say that at least we are still married, and that the kids have had a Dad involved with their lives. Yes, that is true. There are worse things than a father/husband whose job takes him away regularly. Yet, then again, it seems like we're always in transition; being a mother-run home for a week or two, then a two-parent home for a few weeks, then a one-parent home again. It's tough with fluctuating power. You just get into the groove of things, then they change up and you have to get into a new groove. Yet as soon as things start to run smoothly in the new groove, DH is coming home again or leaving again, requiring yet another transition. It's hard to make plans, it's hard to maintain consistency. It's hard to feel secure.
I didn't intend this post to be a downer. Usually I try to keep my posts upbeat, or at least informative. Maybe this one, while not much of either, will at least touch some wife/mother out there who is going through something similar and let her know that she isn't the only woman in the world dealing with this. If that woman is you, well, I send you a big cyber hug because right about now, you're probably really craving hugs. I know that I am.