I know we’re not supposed to say it. Or feel it. Or think it. Even a little.
But there are things… little things… that I sometimes actually almost like a little bit when my husband is out on work-ups or deployment. Am I the only one who has a list of ‘deployment silver-linings?’
I get the T.V. remove to myself after the kids go to bed. I don’t have to watch ‘Male group therapy,’ also known as the reality series featuring the guys who make the Chopper bikes, or any of the boring documentaries my husband loves to choose. “How It’s Made” gets a rest on Netflix in favor of things like Glee, and Grey’s Anatomy.
I can clean when I want and if I want.
When he is gone, sometimes the house stays cleaner—a phenomenon that I haven’t quite figured out how to explain given the belief he has about his own fastidiousness, but even better… I can clean anytime throughout the day. If I feel froggy and want to tackle the kichen at 9:30 in the morning after the kids go off to school, I can do that. If 5:30 in the evening suits my fancy better, that works too. And occasionally, I get the cleaning bug at 10:30 or so at night… Since I’m not aiming for any time in specific—I do the housework when I want to! Some days I *gasp* choose not to clean at all! We step over the dirty socks, the dishes pile up, and the laundry waits a day in favor of us playing or relaxing or just watching t.v. in our jammies.
Though sleep is sometimes hard to come by and there are nights that I stay up too late because I don’t want to go upstairs and meet with an empty bed, when I do get it there are fewer interruptions. When he’s been working on the day shift, and he goes, I am always somewhat relieved to find that the no one hits the snooze button umpty-billion times. I peacefully snooze through the hour of 4:45 a.m to 6:00 a.m. without the alarm going off. In fact, it doesn’t go off until 6:30 or 7:00 when the alarm *I’ve* set beeps (only once thank you). Alternatively, if he’s been working the night shift, I don’t have to wake myself up every hour to do the, “look at the clock and feel the bed…. Is he home yet?” dance. I don’t have to rouse myself at 2:30 or 3:30 or 4:30 to do the “How was work, babe?” niceties? (Of course, there *are* nights that this backfires and I reach to see if he’s there anyway and realize he’s gone like a ton of bricks)
Yes there are things I don’t quite mind about deployments and work-ups…. Not having to stock up on salad dressing (I don’t use any), not being teased about the tooth paste mess I make on the mirror, the quiet me time I get in the evenings after the kiddos go to bed…. These things and more can be almost… enjoyable when he is gone.
None of them are enough. Because the flipside of all of them is simply this: My best friend in the whole world is on the other side of the world and I am left incomplete. My marriage is reduced to e-mails letters and every couple of months when he is in port the treat of a few phone calls or maybe even a chance to skype. I miss him so much that I have to start focusing on little pieces of him to really remember what he looks like and what it feels like to be near him. I think of the back of his elbows and the mole underneath his left eye to grasp at what he looks like in three dimensions when he isn’t just a picture on the wall.
Having the kids to myself can be fun sometimes. I try to be more intentional about doing ‘girly fun things’ like painting toe nails and watching age-appropriate chick-flicks, but I happily trade that all in for the ability to not have those sweet babies cry themselves to sleep for the missing of Daddy.
No, I don’t have to clean as much, but I also don’t have help. No one is here to take out the trash late Tuesday night when it suddenly dawns on me that it needs to go out. No one is here to pick up a gallon of milk on the way home from work or to sweep the floors… He’s not as fastidious as he thinks he is but he’s more fastidious than me.
There’s no one to make silly faces at and dance with when we brush teeth before bed, no one to wrap an arm around me and curl around me to help me go to sleep. No one to talk over the highlights and blow by blow of the day with.
When he’s gone I look for the bright side and I find to my surprise that there are some things about him being gone that are a novelty for a week or so…. I realize that I’m pretty independent and can be pretty good company to myself when I need to be if it comes right down to it.
But it doesn’t take long to realize those novelties are really just novelties. And the truth of the matter is I’d trade every one of them in for the feeling of his hand in mine, the sound of his voice filling the silence, and the look in his eyes when he comes home and the girls charge him.
I’d trade any of the miniscule benefits (including the Sea Pay) for the simplicity of having him here breathing next to me, and the feeling of his arms around me.