The hardest year
Phillip is out of town Monday through Wednesday this week, then Monday through Friday the week after that. The trips aren't scheduled yet, but it's practically for sure that he'll be gone a week in October and a week in November as well, and two trips per month is a strong possibility. The other night he timidly suggested he might be asked to travel the week I go to the Blathering. And I said, "....." (That is not happening.)
The good news is that the oft-postponed project he's been working on, for over a year now, has a Deployment Date (or something like that) and supposedly everything should be finished up in November. SUPPOSEDLY. Phillip has worked SO hard and I love that he's getting to finish this out. As hard as all the travel has been, it's also been really important for him to do it. I'm proud of him, I believe in him, I'm happy he's had the opportunity, and I FULLY support pretty much whatever he wants to do career-wise. I am on board.
Also, I would like to point out that I have come a looooong way from the days where just the SUGGESTION of work travel was, for me, A Dealbreaker. We had fights about this when it wasn't even HAPPENING. But a few years ago his small local company got bought out by a Huge Conglomerate with headquarters in an East Coast time zone and any sort of advancement in this company now requires travel. Lots of it.
I'm a stay at home mom, I make absolutely no financial contribution to our family, I have zero interest in careers, and the work I am qualified to do pays peanuts, so THANK GOD the lanky computer nerd I married somehow morphed into an ambitious and aggressive worker bee. Through a combination of Growing Up and Counting My Blessings I've been a little more accepting of each week Phillip spends away from our family. Slowly, slowly, Phillip has gotten better at acknowledging how hard it is for me and how much he appreciates it (VERY important to me) and I've become marginally better at not freaking out about it and reassuring him that we're (I'm) fine (VERY important to him).
Last night we stayed up too late talking about where we want to go for our 10 year anniversary trip next summer. I can think of 10,000 places, but Phillip really only wants to find a nice beach in Mexico and sit there for about a week. I can work with that, but it was telling - he's so tired. It's not like he enjoys five-hour plane rides in middle seats and rental car lines and suburban office parks. He doesn't even really get to sleep through the night, what with being three hours behind and sleeping in a strange bed. (Although, it's true, sounds pretty good right now.)
Anyway, I say all this because it's only night one and I lost it on the kids. The kindergarten/preschool transition has been a rough one for all of us, I think. We are big fans of kindergarten and preschool, but we're still not used to the schedule, two small children are constantly tired, Molly often misses a nap she still likes to take, and even though it SEEMS like I should have more time, I feel busier than ever. Plus Emma's got a cold and isn't happily diving into her crib at bedtime and I NEED the big kids to clean up and get their PJs on and do all of this without fighting or whining. This, of course, is impossible.
I am trying REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY HARD to let stuff go. Like my yard? My yard is a horrible ugly disaster. It totally stresses me out. There are about 9000 things I want to do to my yard and I want to do them NOW, but I just can't. I'm going crazy with all the grown out clothes I have to organize, but I have to do it one tub at a time. I want to volunteer at Jack's school, but I have a baby at home. I so wish I could let Molly stay an extra hour at preschool sometimes so she can eat lunch with the other kids (ALL of them stay that extra hour!) but I have a baby who naps right then. I want to write more, I even want to CLEAN more! But this stuff just isn't getting done. I can't even water my houseplants.
And so I keep telling myself, "Self? This is your hardest year. THIS IS THE HARDEST YEAR." Three kids doing three totally different things. A baby who must be toted around and entertained every second. A husband who frequently travels. I mean, unless we have a fourth and Phillip decides to move to the beach in Mexico all by himself, unless something totally out of the ordinary happens, this really is the hardest year. And this is helpful for me. It's helpful tonight, when all three of them are whining and crying and ALL of us are worn out and tired and missing Phillip.
I know it's not a REAL thing. I know years aren't hard just because you have small children or rough schedules. I know so much can happen and things can be so different from what you imagine. But there is definitely something about the fact that this year is only going to happen once. I will only have one kindergartener, one preschooler, and one immobile baby for this one year, and after that, things will be different.
I think what's amazing is that I can still have nights like last night, where all three kids were hilarious and laughing and Phillip and I were awake enough to enjoy them and each other. Nights where I don't really WANT things to be different, ever.