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.

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