And you appear in all your splendor
What a FANTABULOUS and AMAZILICIOUS weekend! I almost feel... not tired!
There have been several times in my marriage where I didn't feel like I was spending much time with Phillip. I remember feeling this way when we were both working full time, but it seems totally foreign to me now, since what were we doing after work except hanging out with each other? It's not like we had children or particularly demanding jobs to distract us, right? RETROACTIVE EYE ROLL.
Then we had Jack and Molly (does anyone remember when we had one baby instead of two? Not me!) and we were awfully busy and awfully worn out. Happy, but tired. Like all couples in charge of small children, maybe we didn't get a lot of time to ourselves.
The grad school years were especially lean on quality time. Phillip was often in class or studying away from home on Saturdays, he often had to write papers and do homework on weeknights. And he started traveling for work during those years, so yeah. Remember when he was traveling for work the week we had to pack up and move out of our rental house AND I was pregnant? I DO!
And then 2012 brought a week-long trip every month, on average, and I started to think that maybe THIS was worse than all the other times. Hadn't I railed against ANY business travel EVER? And now it was occuring on a dismally regular basis? But 2012 is the year of Realizing I Cannot Do It All and one of the things I couldn't do was Get Mad. It wasn't Phillip's fault anyway. It was just the nature of things and it was best to just plan a lot of friends and family time during those weeks and Power Through.
But now, you guys. NOW there is an exponential increase in business travel. He went twice in September, he's already finished one week of travel in October and he potentially travels next week and the week after that - three weeks in October. In fact, we sat down tonight and put all the work travel on the calendar and while everything is constantly changing, right now he is traveling every week until Thanksgiving. And that doesn't include his trip to Montana this weekend with friends (which he is doing with my complete and total blessing) or my trips - The Blathering in November and Urbana in December.
This week he's home and it almost feels weird. Really. I had to make a meal plan for the week; I'm going to have to COOK. I will have help in the evenings. Someone else will put the kids to bed. I won't have to wake up for every single thing in the middle of the night. I won't feel nervous turning out all the lights. It's weird when your normal life starts to sound novel.
So this weekend we took huge fantastic advantage. He came home super late Thursday night. Friday the kids didn't have school so we visited my parents, by which I mean I went shopping with my sister all day while my mom was in charge of feeding and corraling the shorties. And on Saturday we met up with Phillip's parents for dim sum and when THEY took our kids home with them, WE went home and sat in front of the television. For hours. I am not even the slightest bit ashamed. We watched a terrible movie about the financial crisis (Margin Call) and almost everything on our TiFaux. Then we dressed up, went downtown, ate fattening appetizers for dinner, and walked over to the Paramount to see Wicked WHICH WAS SO SUPER DUPER I wish I could buy you all tickets. We stayed up late, slept in, made ourselves giant breakfasts, and argued through Meet The Press. We did some laundry, cleaned out the closets, dropped everything at Goodwill, went to the grocery store - all without kids and it sounds boring I know, but when was the last time we had time to talk about how we will basically cancel each other out when it's time to vote? Or time to sit on the couch and watch trashy television? Or put on glittery shoes and go out by ourselves and stay out, way past our bedtimes?
He's home all week until Friday night, when he'll leave for Montana. He comes home Monday evening and goes back to the airport Tuesday morning for another work trip. He'll get back Thursday night. I think that will be the longest/hardest stretch. I have a plan and we'll be fine, but part of how I stay fine is getting used to doing it all by myself. And then it's really weird to sort of allow him back into life at home.
Isn't that horrible? But that's how I do it. I don't know.
This DOES have an end point. This particular project is over by Thanksgiving. After that there's business travel, but not at this frequency and intensity. And I don't think I'm writing this to complain about the travel or to elicit sympathy (although I am always happy to take sympathy!) or anything like that - I think I just actually want to write down how it's WEIRD. It is WEIRD when this integral part of your life, a key piece of day to day living, a NECESSARY INGREDIENT just... isn't there! Or has to disappear for days at a time. You start to tell yourself you DON'T need that piece. That you're fine without it! Because, well, you have to be fine without it. He doesn't want to worry about you while he's away and you don't want him to worry and you just do what you have to do and feel relieved when he comes home. But then he comes home and it's weird! GOOD weird, but... still weird. Because you (me) mentally place yourself in I Can Do This On My Own land and then you suddenly don't have to be there anymore...
I always knew I couldn't marry anyone in the military because of deployments. Dads were constantly deployed when I was in high school and living on the military base. Even then, having no idea what it's like being married and having a family, I knew I didn't want that. And now that I've been doing what I've been doing, it sounds even worse. There's the solo parenting for months on end, sometimes without any family nearby, then there's the reentry into Normal, which can't possibly feel Normal after months of solo parenting. How do those families make it?
I'm writing this as Phillip is putting the kids to bed. A whole half hour later than I would do it if he weren't here. I have time to write when Phillip is home! But we're so tired and I think we're just going to fall back into our Too Tired To Move modes, then he'll leave again on Friday, then it all starts over.
So it was pretty awesome Saturday night, wearing fancy shoes and makeup, sitting in a theater in the best seats Phillip could get, knowing every line of every song, glancing at my husband who would glance back and smile because he knows his wife loves fancy shoes and theaters and huge song and dance numbers and being out at night. There are hot pink roses in a vase on my dining room table. There are emergency chocolates in Phillip's coat pocket. I think we'll be okay.