When I married my pilot, I knew I would sleep alone some nights.
When I married my pilot, I knew he would have to work on Christmas Day.
When I married my pilot...I didn't know how much I would carry on my plate when it came to raising the kids, or how much Steve would actually miss in our life, or how much weight I would carry on my shoulders. I believe that no pilot wife/mother ever really knows what this is all like until you actually live it. Hell, I didn't even know how much weight it was, or how much he would miss, until just recently...and the kids are 3 and 5! As the kids get bigger, I know situations get more elevated so I know the pressure will only get greater.
When I decided to marry Steve, I did not fully understand what my role
as a mother would be. I am sure I thought about it. I must have thought about it.
But, I know now that I didn't fully understand what it would be like. I can only imagine what else is in store for us.
Wanna know how much I carry on my plate when it comes to raising the kids? I missed kindergarten orientation for Ben...
That is how much...
Sometimes I have SO much going on, I forget things. Sometimes I think it is the brain tumor that is sucking all my memory. Of all things to forget, it had to be Ben's orientation...and Mrs. Smith must think that I am one stellar mom.
The orientation was happening during the 2 hour summer picnic one evening at the kid's school. The picnic had food, games and a fun magic show. After the magic show, another K mom walked up to me and said "why weren't you at the orientation...I thought Ben was going to be in school."
I made a bee-line right towards the K room, met Mrs. Smith's eyes and said "Oh my God, I am so sorry!"
What a great first impression! I hope Ben is not forever typecast as the kid with an aloof mom. I just hope that Mrs. Smith has some mercy on me once she learns that Steve is an airline pilot. If it helps pull in some bonus points, I would force Steve into his uniform and make him do a "job" day for Ben's class.
First comes a missed orientation...and next comes the first day of school. In preparation for the first day I had to pack Ben's backpack for kindergarten. My little boy is going to school...and Steve is flying the friendly skies and will miss it all.
I packed this picture on Ben's bag, per the request of items to bring on the first day of school.
I like this picture. This was taken last year at the air show. We are sitting in the cowling of a 737. Impressed I know that word, aren't you?! Probably just as impressed as Steve was when he started flying this plane, coming from a RJ, and could actually get into the cowling. Ben had a spider painted on his face, and CC has the cutest little pigtails. It was hot as fuck that day, but we still had a great time.
I think I will always like this picture. As much as Steve doesn't want to be defined by his occupation, his occupation has formed our family structure into what it is. I like having little touches of planes and flight in our home. Plus, when a K parent looks at this picture I hope they think "oh Ben's dad must be a pilot, that is why he is never around" rather then the thought of "you know, I never see Steve around...I wonder if they are having marital problems." (Yes, we are still married.)
So, as I was packing Ben's bag, I couldn't help but get a bit upset that Steve wasn't going to be there to see Ben off to his first freakin' day of school. A father should not miss a child's first day of school, just as a father should never miss a child's birthday.
I am sure Steve will miss most first days of school. As with everything, missing the first of anything is shit...and then you get used to it.
I know I never thought about Steve missing the first day of school before we had kids. Of all the thoughts I had about kids with a pilot dad, this was not one of them. And, that is why it is so important to be able to roll with the punches as a pilot wife...because you don't know what is ahead of you. You have to adjust and make the most of any situation.
Rolling with the punches, what?
Funny you mention that...the story just continues on. The day before Ben's first day in K, I picked him up from pre-school and he had a 102 temp. Apparently, 10 kids in his class were sick with this same "only a fever for a symptom" virus. Ben was one of the lucky 10 to get the virus.
The morning of Ben's first day of K, he had a 101.3 temp. After a little more bed time that morning, and 1 1/2 tsp of ibuprofen, and we headed out. Ben was acting fine. It was Ben's first day of school...I couldn't let him miss it.
Off to school we went, and all was well. I had it in the back of my head that I would be getting a call from school.
I did that afternoon. I was actually in the middle of a pretty urgent work situation, but motherhood calls. And when your pilot husband is 3 states away, there is shit he can do about the situation...it is all you! I am truly blessed to have a boss who is so understanding. Having a boss that is flexible and understanding is something I am so grateful for! I wrapped up some items, and left in a hurry.
Ben's temp got up to 103.9. Lovely.
Steve is gone. It is all me. Kid sick? It is you off work. Or, it is you arranging things. The weight on my shoulders...
Steve was on day 3 of a 4-day when all of this was going down. He was at a hub during the afternoon and had just one leg to fly that day. I figured I would ask if he could "just drop the rest of the trip and come home."
I expected, and I got a "no."
Of course Steve is able to drop any trip at any time, so if I really needed it he would have done it. It just sucks that I can pretty much never rely on him being home. I believe he has only ever called off a trip once for a sick kid. Tick-tock, tick-tock. It is all on me to arrange for things when Steve is gone...the weight on my shoulders...
Not to mention, during the night when Ben was at his peak of not feeling well, who had to wake up multiple times to address a child's cry and whine? Me. Of course I rushed right in, and did so happily and with care. I am just adding this point to further establish how much a pilot wife can bare...and handle...when her pilot is away.
This is the life of a pilot's wife.
I want to establish that I am not complaining...I am simply sharing my life. This is my life. This is our life.
We, pilot wives, have to roll with the punches, adjust, and be able to carry the weight of our family life on your shoulders. Easy enough, right? There are still some times when I actually surprise myself with my ability to do all that I do.
And this is all the exact reason that I grab a beer the second Steve walks in the door after a 4-day, and sit my ass on the recliner. Mama needs a breather!