The kids and I were sitting down to dinner after a phenomenally long day. In the previous 24 hours, the school year had ended, our dishwasher had broken, and the hard-to-reach fluorescent light bulbs in the laundry room had burned out. Thunderstorms and tornado warnings had been the order of the day and night. And then we added in a doctor’s appointment for kid #2, a trip to the grocery store, and 2 dance classes for kids #3, just for kicks.
So, as you can see, this mama was D-O-N-E.
Quietly, from the other room, I heard my phone’s text alert. Was it Greg? Wait, what time was it in Budapest right now? After midnight?! Find the phone quickly, kids!
We found the phone and, sure enough, there was the text. Is now a good time to FaceTime?
Didn’t he know it was dinner time? Didn’t he know it was Thursday and I was going to have to leave in 5 minutes to go get Leah from dance class? And for goodness sake, couldn’t he somehow instinctively know that it was actually quiet for the first time all day?
Sure! I texted back. It’s a great time!
Before I knew it, there on the screen was my handsome husband. In a split second, all of those reasons why we shouldn’t FaceTime flew straight out the window.
There he was, this man who I love more than life. So strong, so independent, and so obviously tired, with his empty, quiet hotel room in the background. He was in a foreign country whose language he didn’t speak. He had been in meetings for three days straight. In fact, just that day he had led a meeting of international delegates all on his own. And what did he want to do when he finally got back to his room at night? He wanted to talk to us, see our faces, hear our voices.
What kind of selfish, self-centered person was I?
Of course, we talked. The kids were sufficiently idiotic to make their dad laugh. And I was able to make light of our rough situations so as to not worry him or make him feel guilty for not being here to fix things. Well, at least, I think I was.
It was a great conversation, albeit quicker than I would’ve liked as I still had to run to pick up our tiny dancer from class. But it was good.
As always, we ended with I love yous, I’ll talk to you soons, blown kisses, and waved goodbyes from the kids.
My mind and heart were filled again with the love and admiration I have for that man, despite my frustrations with his absence. And I was reminded once more, as I so often am when he’s away on business, that while my life here may be full to bursting with crazy, the life he leads on the road isn’t always a picnic, either.
The grass is always greener on the other side of the ocean.
Stay At Home Mom is not one of the more glamorous jobs one can have. And it’s super easy, for me at least, to think that my jet-setting husband (oh, how he would laugh at that description!) has it so much better than I do. But then I get a little shoulder-tap from the Holy Spirit, a divine reminder if you will, that my eyes are blue and I really shouldn’t turn them green with envy. Especially not for the man who does everything with our family’s best interest in mind.
So, if you don’t mind, I’m going to talk to myself here for a minute. If what I’m saying speaks to you, please know that you are not alone at all!
When he sends you pictures of the beautiful places he’s seen, it’s not to rub your nose in what he’s done that you don’t get to do. Odds are that he’s exploring a brand new land all on his own and would much rather have you along to see it with him. He’s sharing, not gloating.
Restaurant food is only so good for so many meals in a row. Sure, you’d love the chance to eat a meal you didn’t have to procure and prepare! Who wouldn’t? But what do you think he’d give for the chicken you marinated just the way he likes? How many of those chocolate chip cookies you made would he have eaten and crowed over? Do you think that even frozen pizza and a bag of salad eaten with the people he loves might be preferable to yet another restaurant meal after a week? I’d wager it would.
You might think that the noise and insanity of kids is getting on your last nerve. That, for heaven’s sake, if they slam that door one more time or if you step on one more blessed Lego you’re going to lose your damn mind. And that you would probably sell the kid that is bugging you the most for just one silent night in a hotel room with no one to bother you. All the while, he’s all alone and missing you.
(Who am I kidding, though? He’s totally sleeping diagonally through the middle of that king-sized bed, snoring to beat the band.)
What do you think he’d give for bedtime kisses from his little girls? Or evening TV with his boys? How much do you think he’d want to be able to change the light bulbs for you or be able to talk to the dishwasher repairman so you wouldn’t have to?
(Now, none of this is to say that there aren’t parts of the travel and business experience he doesn’t absolutely thrill in. Of course there are! He learns, he’s challenged, and those things are part of what make him who he is. Just like I might thrill in morning snuggles with cartoons, or chats in the car during carpool, or hell, wearing my pajamas until noon if I darn well feel like it. Im just saying…)
Pray Each Other Through It
So, what’s a girl to do? How am I supposed make it through another bedtime? Another dinner? Another night of locking up the house in the dark by myself? The answer is surprisingly simple.
Turn to the God who sees and loves you both no matter how far apart you are. He’s there to help. He’s there to give you the strength and the patience that you both need to get through your trials until you’re in each other’s arms again.
Offer him your suffering. Ask him to let you see these trials as the meager bumps in the road they truly are. Request that you be able to see your children through His eyes and that they can experience the love of both of their parents through you.
Pray for safe travels, successful business ventures, and health for your husband. Send your love to him on the wings of your guardian angel.
And you can totally ask his prayers for you! Most likely, they’re already wrapped around you. Around you and the kids.
Feel that strength, lean into that love. And be confident in the gifts you each have that have brought you to your place in this world at this time.
Then, pour yourself a glass of wine, wear your most comfy PJs, have a late night snack, put the kids to bed a little early (or later, if that makes things easier!), and look forward to that homecoming.
It’s all gonna be just fine.