Friday, February 19, 2010

Survival of the Least Fit

I made it. We made it. It's Friday and my husband comes back tonight. One week of him gone on travel is enough for me. I got lucky this time. His travel was supposed to be a double feature that lasted one week in one state and the next week in another state but the epic snowstorm luckily changed his original plans. I've been lucky since we moved here actually because we were told he would be traveling two weeks out of each month minimum with his new position at the Pentagon. His having to travel has picked up but so far we still haven't reached him being gone 50% of every month. Thank God.

I honestly don't know how military wives or husbands go months, if not years in the absence of their spouse. Or the same sentiment to those married to husbands/wives who work exorbitant hours for their jobs and must travel often too. And forget all that - what about the millions of single parents doing it completely alone without the promise of someone else coming home to relieve them? I shudder in my own tired bones thinking about them. God Bless you guys. Really, I absolutely think of you all when I feel wasted and unable to go on another minute. I gather my strength, my patience, and my perspective to wash that little scrubby head of hair, brush those tiny little marbly teeth, and kiss those sweet angelic faces goodnight at the end of a very long day in your honor. (* Recently a young man in a store asked my husband if he was a Marine (the haircut always gives him away). This young man was also a Marine who had gotten out for a while but was thinking of going back in. After a short chat about V-7s, Al Asad Air Base and the V22 Program the young man shook his hand and thanked him for his service. He then stopped, tipped his head to me and looked me dead in the eye, "Thank you ma'am for having the toughest job in the Marine Corps." While I know he was referring to deployments, possible deployments or maybe collateral duties that may take time from the family, it occured to me that yes, those of us not wearing uniforms or having official rank do have a hard job too. We are expected to make do and no shit (as hubby would say) pull it all together without complaint. That is part of this gig whether your Marine is stationed here or away. That is part of our reality and you can either sink or swim. I for one, am strapping on my oxygen tank and going for a nice long dunk in the water, baby. HoofreakinRa.)

Before I learn about my husbands travels, whether for work or for play, I always freak out in my mind a little (A LITTLE!) about how I'm going to do it all alone. Then I simmer down, lose the splotchy hives and come to my senses by remembering the facts:

  • I do this by myself during the day, every day, until 6:30/ 7pm every night anyway
  • The children are Uh-MAY-zing to me when Daddy's away
  • Even Sadie becomes less needy
  • I get to snuggle with Grayson at night because he sleeps in my bed when hubby's gone
  • I have sole authority over the remote and don't have to feign interest in that Auto show where the silver haired guy "saves" old cars, fixes them up, and puts them in auction. I've seen that bloody show 5 times at least and he has yet to sell one for a good price. I no longer believe he's the man for the job and I want to shout, "Don't do it Lady, don't hire him, he's not very good at what he does!" to all those lonely widows trying to make a buck from their late husband's hot rod. Honestly, who can afford to be this upset while waiting for Project Runway to come on?
  • I don't have to cook (or cook very well) because the kids each eat two point five tablespoons of food and it's time to clean up anyway.
  • I get to leave the mail in the mailbox (gasp!) for one night or two if I'm feeling frisky.
  • I don't have to empty each and every trash can into the big one nightly. It's Kleenex and Q-tips. Not hazard waste. I'm pretty sure we'll all live to see another day.
  • There is nobody asking me if I went outside today. (I know you work inside a large building in a cubicle without windows or sunlight, Honey, but it is February with monster walls of snow surrounding us everywhere we look and 13 degrees with wind chill. Forgive me for "wimping out." We played superheroes, ate cookie dough, and rolled on the floor like carpet worms for several hours before you arrived.)
  • and?????????? (drum roll) and I get to miss him.
So, while nobody loves to "go it alone" (shouldn't it technically be "go AT it alone? I've never understood this phrase and it bothers me. also? when people use "broke" instead of broken. Like "Aw man, it doesn't work anymore. It's broke." No. Just very much no. It's not broke. It's brokEN. Broke is what you just did to make it broken. Okay, I'm done.) there are the things you can look forward to in order to make the best of it.

All that being said, I am proud of myself for keeping this household and all its inhabitants fed, healthy(ish- G has a cold), clean, warm, and happy. It doesn't take a SuperParent or superhuman strength to do it all by yourself. What I find it does take is an appreciation for planning, resting, vitamin eating, blogging, facebooking, Nikon'ing, snuggling, laughing, vacuuming, reshelving, playing, tushie grabbing, and a heart big enough for forgiving yourself when none of that is perfect.


pajama mom said...

you da woman!
p.s. i let m sleep with me too. mongster bait.

One Sided Momma said...

thanks, pj. mongsters never look in the parent bed. or do they?

Jessica said...

My husband travels a lot, too, and I also wonder alllll the time how single parents (either permanently single or situationally single like military parents) do it. I think one thing in their favor is that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. It's like senioritis. When you know relief is on its way it makes those last few days/hours/whatever SO much harder. At least it does for me.

If I knew my husband was going to be gone for a year, it'd suck baaad, but I also would just hunker down and do it. Just like we do it every small day of the week and look forward to 6:30 with a glassy-eyed eagerness that frightens us all haha.

No really, you basically wrote down all my own thoughts and feelings about a traveling spouse. It's wonderful, yet hard. Freeing, yet overwhelming. And all at the same time!

My husband is about to take off for a week (with our son) then will be gone for another week and a half for business. I'm expecting to be very well-rested when the business trip hits. But I bet I'll be wrung out by the time he returns, too.