Absence Makes the Love Get All Oozy-Like

David’s been in Dallas all week (not all week. It’s really just been four days) for business, and I’m ready for him to come home. Not so ready to give up all that square footage of sleeping space in the bed, but then he’d probably tell you that that’s really no different from when he is home, except that this time he’s not clinging to the edge of the mattress by his fingertips while I happily dream of sunshine and rainbows (Can’t help it. This momma likes to sprawl). He doesn’t do these big trips too often, which is fine by both of us, especially for him now that his company downgraded their training facilities and he no longer gets a working vacation with the ooh-la-la lobster and steak dinners of yore. He said the other night the place served fish that was so overprocessed his dinner companion thought he was eating chicken. If that’s not enough to make you turn vegetarian, folks, if just until you get that image out of your brain, well…all I can say is, don’t make fun of my textured vegetable protein when you’re gnawing away at chickenfish alá Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (the. best. movie. of all time):

The house feels so different when he’s gone. It’s a lot quieter. Dave is a tall streak of energy with a voice that carries and a laugh that bounces off the walls, and when he’s away I’m hyperaware of how most of my day is spent conversing with people who use simple sentences or grunts. By nightfall, the fact sinks in that two precious little life forces (I mean the girls, of course. You know the poor animals are now second-tier) rely on me for safety and protection, and that’s sort of terrifying. At bedtime, the dog gets shoved out the back door to do his business instead of being taken for a walk. I turn on the outside lights and peer out the windows like some crazy lady convinced the KGB is scouting her house. I curse under my breath when I clean out the litter box, because I’m so not used to disposing of cat wee (You know how pregnant ladies aren’t supposed to clean out litter boxes? I may have possibly led my husband to believe that cat poop is bad for women when they breastfeed, too…Yeah, I know).

Probably most significantly, I stomp around snuffing and snorting when, at 4:30 p.m., I realize that there’s no aluminum foil in the house and I can’t call my trusty husband to stop by the store on his way home. And because there’s no way I’m schlepping both kids back out in the car when one’s still half-asleep, the sky is pouring rain, dinner’s in the oven and I have to nurse the baby and get her diaper changed, I’ll resort to wrapping up the leftovers in some old bubble wrap and masking tape I found in the back of the junk drawer, wondering the whole while if the old me who used to be fully independent and self-sufficient would even recognize the woman now who avoids even pharmacies that don’t offer drive-through services.

I realize that if I were in the company of single mothers right now, or a military parent whose spouse has been deployed, I would cower from shame and promise up and down to get over myself already. I’ve a friend whose husband travels so much for work that she says it’s almost easier to have him gone, because when he’s home their routine gets all thrown out of whack and it’s like a visitor is trying to discipline their children. So, again, David’s only been gone for four days. He comes home tonight. But until he does, I will worry about his travels until I hear the key in the lock. Until then, I’ll have to keep reassuring Saoirse when she tells me Blanket misses Daddy. And until he’s home, I will think of how very much of my life is entwined with his, how glad I am that our girls got this guy as their father, and how very good I have it. Especially when he’s falling off the bed just so I can get some sleep.

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