Tuesday, May 8, 2012

When He's Gone

"I am master of the bubbles!" my eldest declared from the tub of water and plenty of bubbles that almost reached his and his brother's neck.

"Master of the bubbles!" his little brother mimicked.

I was wiping down the bathroom counter, placing toothpaste on their brushes.  I caught a reflection of myself in the mirror.

Tomorrow would be Day Nine of my husband away.

Unsurprising that I looked more than a little pale.....completely exhausted.  But I noticed my mouth was drawn up listening to my son's chattering.

Friends often wonder how I do it.  Honestly speaking...I don't know how I do, other than the fact that I have no other choice.

When I know the day of departure is looming...it looms dark and foreboding.  But while he's gone I'm too busy to even think most days.  I just go, be, do.  Whatever must be taken care of...whoever must be taken care of.  I suppose I've gotten used to it.  The excessive travel that begins slowly in September and increasingly more frequent come the New Year.  I also suppose I should be thankful that the summer months he's here...but there are also the late nights and long days.  It's been over 6 years of this but the struggle for balance in both of our lives is constant.  Him, family over work...me...my boys over myself, over marriage.  It's not a new story and it causes a strain and a stress on the best of marriages.

I begrudge him the fancy dinners as I sit home and eat the boys leftover half eaten Kraft Dinner and chicken fingers.

He would rather be with us, eating a home cooked meal (which, when he's home, does not involve Kraft Dinner or chicken fingers - not that he would care in the least).

I begrudge him the fact that he's actually hanging out and having face to face intelligent conversations  with people the same age.

But I know he would rather be with us, listening to the  Superhero stories spun by our four and two year old, however hard they are to follow.

I begrudge him having undisturbed sleep in a beautiful hotel room, with room service.   Not having to clean up after himself.

But I know in my heart that with the dark of the night comes feelings of lonliness and longing for us.  Although I'm sure he is quite content not to have to clean up after himself.

It is the constant influx of emotions....the up-down...the wow - I am supermom - I tie dyed 5 shirts with my 4 year old today and didn't lose my mind.  Then comes the wow at bath time when I realize the green dye isn't coming off of his legs...and did I check the box to see if it was toxic free...and OMG will he get ink poisoning?!

What kind of Mother doesn't check to see if the dye is toxic free?!

What kind of Mother tye dyes FIVE shirts with her FOUR YEAR old son?!!!

And why am I calmest in situations I normally would lose complete patience but then yell at my boys when they won't stop goofing off and get ready for bed?  

Will they remember these moments?  Have I scarred them for life?!

"Close your eyes Mumma".  I sit on the boy's bumpy white plastic footstool in front of the tub that contains my sons, a million bubbles and lots of bath toys.

I close my eyes.

"Okay, you can open them now!"

I open them up to see the sopping wet blue washcloth folded and lumpy at the edge of the bath tub.

"Oh!  What's this?"

"A present for you!"

I carefully peel the dripping cloth away to find my gift.

An R2D2 toy.

I thank him profusely and he beams with pride.

He arrives home at the tail end of Mother's Day.

I hope his gift to me is just as heartfelt.

Though possibly a little bit more thoughtful.


Robin noteverstill said...

That's exactly how you do it. One foot in front of the other, one minute at a time, breathing through the tension. You're in the home stretch, mama!
I always am jealous of the uninterrupted sleep in an uncrowned hotel bed :)

Ado said...

Um excuse me but are you married to my husband?
And: how weird is it that mine has also been gone for 10 days now? Are we living PARALLEL lives...?! (-:
Take heart - I feel like a glass-hearted b-word because I do not even miss mine when he is gone. I love him and I like him but I don't miss him because like you I have to just "go-be-do" (another good name for a blog, btw - go-be-do...) So there you have it. He is a tad offended I don't miss him but it's always nice to see him come back! (-:

Ado said...

Hey let's start a band: The Go-Be-Doo's.

January Dawn said...

Ado - frankly it freaks me out a little how much we have in common! And yes! GBD's! I'll sing, you can play the violin!

Robin - thank you my dear. xo

middle child said...

What kind of a mom are you? As always I say, "An awesome mom!"
I am concerned for my daughter Dawn as her husband left for training for a job-Yay that he finally got a job after 3 and a half years. He will be down in Texas for a week then off to work, God knows where. He will be working on the turbines that generate electricity. Yeah, the TAll white windmill things that you see in fields. You can catch the new reality show on the Weather Channel. It's called Turbine Cowboys. Sorry this is so long....point being that he will be gone 6 or more weeks at a time. Then home for like 6 days then gone again. She has emotional problems and I worry so about her.Pray for her and if I need to, could I give her your e-mail address so she could contact you on how to survive these absences? Please don't be afraid to say no.

Galit Breen said...

Oh this is so very beautiful and authentic and real.

Your boys -all of them- are lucky to have you.

(very lucky)

MOV said...

this is so sweet! I have 2 boys, so I get it.

I just found your blog and will be back to read more. :)


By Word of Mouth Musings said...

Its a hard thing this not living in a house behind a white picket fence with a husband who comes home at five every day.
Mine travels the world, we took the kids out for our anniversary dinner last week because a. it was the first time we had actually been together on our anniversary in a while and b. we hadn't been together in nearly 3 weeks.
I hear you, and its hard.
And there is wine ;)

Stacey said...

I could have written this exact post myself (without the tye die - you ARE supermom for that!!). The crappy dinners when he's away? The losing it at bedtime, when I was so patient with earlier craziness? All me. We should all meet up one weekend and let our husbands be the mommies some time! :-)

Emily said...

Oh, I get this...completely. It's amazing all the things you can handle when you don't have any other choice and I think the fact that you're so deep in the trenches and still noticing these sweet, silly moments is a definite supermom power. Right up there with tie dyeing fabrics!

I'm glad your husband's coming home soon. And I hope you have a fantastic Mother's Day. That R2D2 moment was touching. It sounds like the promise of a really good day!