When He Leaves

Sometimes it’s really hard to be married to a man who spends more time away from you than with you.

Every month around the 22nd, he gets his schedule for the next month. It’s usually a celebration of a good amount of time off, or cursing the work rules that make commuting a near impossibility.

When he’s on his way home, I get so excited. I track his flight progress online. I try to straighten up the house. I shave my legs. I attack him with a gigantic hug and kiss when he walks in the door.

But his time at home is never long enough, usually 2-3 days before he gets ready to leave again. He has his pre-trip routine. He showers, packs, and does the mental checklist: shoes, pants, pilot shirt, underwear, badge, passport, wallet, keys, iPhone charger, Zune, and snacks. He checks flight loads, and details of his upcoming work trip. He gives me a goodbye kiss that never seems long enough. The door closes, and our home feels like just a house again.

It’s usually not too long before I send him a text saying “Miss you already.” I walk into the bathroom, and the counter is missing his toiletry bag. I can still smell the faint scent of his deodorant that drives me wild. I go around the house and find all the cups that he drank out of. I fold the rest of the laundry from the load he threw in a few hours before leaving.  I mentally plan out the things I need to accomplish before he returns home next. I hug my daughter tightly, and we give each other the usual bittersweet crooked smile.  She says, “I miss daddy.” We talk about how long it will be until he comes home again. Sometimes we let each other fall apart a little bit. And then we put ourselves back together and get back to ‘normal life.’

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have a husband who worked regular business hours, and could plan on legal holidays off. The 4th of July was a special day while we were dating, and I’m feeling particularly melancholy about him being gone on a trip over the holiday weekend. But I take comfort in the fact that he has a nice stretch of days off next week, and we’re tentatively planning to do something fun alone together.

I love him so much. I miss him so much.

  • Gabrielle Valentine

    Oh, Nicole, my heart goes out to you. You’ve had a rough year but to be separated so much must make it that much tougher. You’ll make it, for sure, especially for your daughter, but I know that doesn’t take the pain away in missing your spouse during those long absences. You can always send me a vent-session, if needed, and I’m thinking of you.
    Love Gabby

  • I completely understand. My husband used to drive a rig, over the road. He’d be gone for about 3 weeks and only home for 3 days. It is so hard! You are strong and you know the blessing of this life your family leads and life in general! Finally, you are not alone! Keep the Faith, better things will come!

  • Esther

    Well written post! This sounds all too familiar from Sarah. I don’t think parting ever gets any easier. That’s not meant to discourage you, but rather something you might consider a blessing.

    There are some people, whose spouse (or parent) works traditional hours, that will never fully understand the toll it takes on your family again and again. But know that you do have family and friends who love you and who are happy to be there when Taylor can’t be. (Not quite the same, I know. :D)

    *Hugs!*

  • My husband is gone a lot, but not nearly as much as yours. And it sucks.

  • Oh this post made me sad. I want to do sparklers with you. Sparklers make everything better temporarily.

  • I was just thinking about you guys and decided to stop by your blog (it has apparently stopped updating to my blog list).

    I can’t say I completely understand how it feels to have your other half gone so often but just imagining it I get sad. *hugs* Miss you guys and I hope that somehow those times when he is away pass speedily by.

  • lu

    Mercy! He is so lucky to have you and this post is a wonderful tribute to that. I am just now touching base with all the wonderful people I met at Evo. I hope this message finds you doing great!

  • Wow! I don’t know how you do it. You need to get yourself a nice stuffed unicorn to have around while he’s gone! j/k
    It’s obvious that you really love and miss him.

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  • Michell @ Girlinair

    So interesting reading your point of view….I was a flight attendant for 10years and I wonder if my hubby ever did those things….:-)

    I miss the job soo much but quit when I had my son because I just couldn’t imagine being gone overnight anymore….

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