McDaddy is out of town again this week and it is quiet in our house. The boys are asleep and I’m doing my nightly blog post from the couch while watching American Idol.
A week like this one is not rare for us, but it never gets easier. McDaddy is no doubt saving the world one control system at a time. He’s probably working at a power plant, or a paper mill, or a chemical plant but honestly I couldn’t tell you either way. He is a gifted engineer who is pretty much always “on call” and I rarely know where he is working.
I, on the other hand spend my days wiping bottoms mouths, regulating electronic device time, and shuffling kids from one location to another. I am gifted only in the art of conversation and because of that I make lots of calls.
When we were first married, McDaddy and I enjoyed a mostly 8AM-4PM / 40 hour-work-week. Those days are but a distant memory. I usually always arrived home first, changed clothes, started dinner and then enjoyed a relaxing evening with my daily DVR docket or a Tae-Bo extravaganza in the basement. Before long, I was able to actually finish the Tae-bo workout.
These days though, I am a stay-at-home-mom who rarely stays at home and would probably drop dead from a heart attack long before I could finish Billy Blank’s thirty minute workout.
Over the past twelve years, our lives have changed so much. Long gone are the days of hot pockets for dinner, followed by a romantic, leisurely walk around the neighborhood as I would try to sneak a peek into the neighbor’s windows.
Not that I ever really did that.
McDaddy and I had talked about me quitting work long before we ever decided to get pregnant. He wasn’t sure, based on sheer numbers that it would work, but we had both prayed about it and felt like it was exactly what we were supposed to do. After Stevie was born, I hung up my handcuffs and left the workforce to raise our son.
To be honest, there are days when I miss working. I miss having a desk with coordinating Longaberger baskets and a candy dish that screamed, “Sit down, have a piece of chocoate candy and let’s discuss the crazy people!” I also miss having a job that welcomed my OCD tendancies to file every single piece of paper that required my signature in a coordinating file folder, sorted first by date and then by the inmate’s last name.
Make no mistake folks, I am a unique piece of work.
Gone too, are the days of planning for lunch before 9:00 AM because really, what is more important in jail?
These days, McDaddy often leaves before sunrise on a Monday to arrive at a work-site two states away by 10 AM. He chooses to do this in lieu of leaving our home on Sunday night only to spend it in a hotel room hours down the road. A good four hours or so after he is gone, I awaken to the most annoying sound ever (my homemedic alarm clock!) to get the boys up and dressed for school. Then, I dive into my day whether it be volunteering at Stevie’s school, shopping at the Mart of Walls, having breakfast club with my girlfriends, hitting the gym, or returning home to climb Mt. Washmore.
By early afternoon, McDaddy has no doubt skipped breakfast and lunch and has spent hours dealing with the type of people who want everything done yesterday. If the stars align and the parts arrive and the work goes smoothly, he might return home that day. Otherwise, I’ll make another “X” on the calendar indicating that he is spending another night away from home. Away from us.
Often, we say goodnight late Sunday evening, not knowing when we will see each other again. We don’t always know because he has no way of knowing how long a job will take. He learned years ago I’m much easier to deal with if I expect him to be gone for five days and he returns in three. SO. On those days in my calendar, I place a small “X” in the corner to remind me that he will not be in town. The “X’s” frequently outnumber the blank spots in a week.
It’s not always an easy life. And not always fun. But over the years I have come to accept that “X” marks the spot. The blank spot that will be present in our lives that week. I am embarassed to admit that there are weeks when I don’t even know where he is working. Usually, it is Ohio.
And he typically drives the heap, ahem, I mean Jeep.
Other weeks, he boards a company jet to New York, Michigan, or Maine. Only it’s not typically a company jet. The highlight of his week no doubt occurs when he lands at the airport and heads out to the Emerald Isle to choose a rental car for the week.
I kid. You not. He loves to drive rental cars.
All the while, I am at home driving to town in my grocery getter, keeping things afloat and whining because I don’t have a Saturn Sky.
The good news is that some days he gets to work at home.
In our basement.
In the little nook that we call his office.
And on those days I fix pancakes. And send him e-mails requesting his presence upstairs.
On those particular days (if I’m not running the roads) he gets a glimpse into my day. A glimpse that might include dusting the living room during a twenty-three minute call to my friend, Becky about our breakfast plans for the next week. Or the fact that it takes me three days to complete various stages of laundry. Or simply that I spend WAY too much time on my iPhone nosing around on the Facebook.
And he couldn’t care less.
Whether I dust. Or I blog.
And I’m thankful that he does not require an explanation about my day. Some days I feel guilty that I’m not trying out a new recipe, Martha Stewart style when he walks through the door after a long day or week of engineering business. It is enough for him that I prepare hamburger helper at the last minute while I’m also playing Words With Friends and overseeing homework. I’m thankful that my plight with the insurance company when they won’t pay a medical bill is important to him. As is the fact that I am up at 4 AM administering a breathing treatment. And I know that he appreciates the fact that I am the one taking care of our kids when they are sick or staying at home with them on snow days.
It is enough for him.
Our life would not work for everybody.
When we were first married, we were both home by 5:00 PM every single day. Twelve years later, we are often go-our-separate-ways-on-Monday-I’ll-see-you-on-Friday people.
It’s not always easy and I have not always been cooperative. I am so thankful that he has a job that he enjoys. A job that affords the opportunity for me be a stay-at-home-mom who rarely stays at home. Even when “X” marks the spot, I am thankful.
[NOTE: McDaddy, I composed this post while you were gone but waited until you were home to post it. I know you are not a fan of me sharing our business in real time, especially when I announce that you are not in town. For any of you who might be casing my crib (I sound like a homey, huh?) waiting to rob the joint, you should totally go somewhere else because I am NOT really home alone this week.]