This past block of days off was rather busy, which makes it that much harder when Steve goes back to work. Of course there are times when I love that Steve is leaving for a trip, but other times I hate it...and all I want is just want one more day for him to be home.
Throughout the three days he was home, we headed out to "God's Country" as my father-in-law calls it. This is where both he and my mother-in-law grew up. The purpose of the journey was for my father-in-law's high school reunion, which he invited Steve as his date. We figured that we would all go so that the kids and I could see all the places we only heard about in stories. After the reunion we went up to the lake and stayed on the boat for one evening. And after we got home from the lake, I had a good friend come to visit and I was able to meet his girlfriend. During their visit is when Steve exited stage left.
So, to the person that tells me it must be so nice to have all this time off, I will again say "suck it!" I know that is a very mature response, but that really is all I have to say about that. Sometimes is just sucks that Steve's job takes him away. I am not complaining, or whining...I am mostly past that at this point in the game...I am just saying that preparing for another trip isn't always easy.
When you have no time to decompress from one trip to the next, it sucks. And before you know it, 11 days has passed (4-day trip, 3 days home, 4-day trip) where you don't feel like you get to spend any quality time with your husband, and the kids don't feel like they got quality time either. I could only imagine how Steve feels. He got home from a 4-day, rushed out to another journey, only to come home 3 hours before his next trip, and off again to fly the friendly skies.
I follow Flight Level 390. I love Captain Dave! He has said before, and I totally agree: you have to fit your home life into three days at a time. Compress a seven day week into three days, and this is how a pilot lives. Imagine that outsiders: in the three short days that Steve is home, not only does he have a laundry list of things to do, like putting away hangers, he also has the staple things like playing with the kids and giving attention to me. A pilot having 3 days off in a row is totally different from what you think it would be like. It isn't like someone working a 9-5 job and having a three day weekend...the pilot isn't home at all for 4-day, so there are no evenings to catch up on things...again, a seven day week has to be compressed into 3 short days.
Just to demonstrate how this compression of life affects our life, here are a couple examples:
- When Steve got home from his last trip, we knew we had the God's Country journey ahead of us. As we laid our heads down the night he got in from his 4-day, it dawned on me that we wouldn't have "alone time" until after he got back from his next trip...which would be 8 days away. No, thank you! I mentioned this to Steve and of course business was taken care of. But, talk about spontaneity. I mean really?! I am in a world of counting days of saying "well, we better do it tonight or else it is going to be 8 days."
- After we got home from the God's Country journey, the kids settled in for a nap while Steve prepared for his 4-day. T-minus 3 hours. Before Ben closed his eyes for his nap, Steve made a promise that he would wake him up one hour before he had to leave. Ben was in a peaceful sleep, dreaming sweet dreams, and Steve woke him so they could spend time together. Ben woke easily, knowing the countdown was on. While Steve was preparing his uniform, packing, and dressing, Ben was right alongside trying to squeeze out every last second. Reminds me of the time the kids laid next to Steve as he was napping to prepare for a late flight. It is sweet and pathetic at the same time: sweet that Ben loves Steve so much, and pathetic that a child was woken from sleep to spend time with his Daddy before he left on another trip.
And the next night, as the kids and I were saying prayers before bedtime, Ben prayed "that Daddy didn't have to leave for work." Shatter...the sound of my heart breaking.
- The day after Steve left for his 4-day I sent him a text: I miss you :( It isn't often that I get all sappy with him, but when you feel like you really didn't spend any time with him, you long for him. To further demonstrate how much I missed him, a couple days into the trip I walked past Steve's chair in the bedroom which keeps clothes he has gently worn, and I got a whiff of his scent. I actually stopped in my tracks, picked up his shirt and smelled it. I held onto it for a bit before I put it back down.
Sometimes I think that having just one more day could make all the difference. But, we don't have the power to do that. We have to live the life as dictated by crew scheduling. Sometimes it is hard. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it makes you want your pilot husband to have another job. But, with the bad comes the good. When Steve gets home from this trip I know the kids will be super excited to see him. I will be super excited to see him. Missing one another is a good thing, because it makes the homecoming that much sweeter. This is where absence makes the heart grow fonder.