For as long as I have known Steve he has been a pilot. For as long as Steve and I have been in a relationship we are apart on a weekly basis. Most weeks he is gone 3-4 days. He doesn't "sometimes travel for work" he "is always traveling for work." Our relationship was built on distance and being part. It is what both of us know. It is what both of us signed up for. Our relationship works because he is gone. I know this is a foreign concept for some couples, but it is the truth when it comes to me and my pilot. It doesn't mean I love him any less...I am simply sharing our truth. And, I could very easily argue with anyone that our distance actually makes us love one another more.
Having said all that, let me throw our three words for you: flown by operations (FBO). Steve has been one lucky motherfucker this month and has not only been FBOed once, but twice! This happened because Steve was paired with a CA that is a check airman. The trip was taken away from Steve, with pay, so that a new FO could fly with the check airman for training...or IOE (see another damn acronym (Initial Operating Experience))...or... I am not sure the other possibilities. Once I hear "I am home, with pay" my mind stops retaining any further details.
...and I am the lucky wife that gets to deal with his ass for those extra 8 days this month.
I have to admit, our relationship struggles when he is home for extended periods of time like this. I know Steve would agree to this. Again, our relationship works because he is gone. Our relationship has been built on distance. We know nothing different, and this "being together all the time" thing is throwing us for a loop.
He has been home so much lately that we have been out of sync and our normal rhythm. Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE that he is home....but, there are times that I hate it.
Let's talk about all the love I have for Steve when he is home like this:
I love that Steve takes the trash out, and brings the trash cans back in.
I love that he does school drop off duty.
I love that he locks up the house at night.
I love that I can sleep next to a warm body (and believe me, there has been a lot of attacks from this 155 pound woman)
I love how he does bedtime duty for the kids.
I love family dinners.
I love his presence at school events...yes I am happily married and our son has a very involved father
I love his presence in the house...the house is filled with warmth when he is home (not the void that I have grown to know)
I love watching tv and looking over to see him sitting there.
I love brushing my teeth at night in sync with him.
I love that he turns my bed warmer on for me.
Now, let's talk about the things I hate:
I hate the sound of his jaw popping.
I hate the way he gulps water.
I hate that I turn into lazy when he is home, and become too reliant on him doing things.
I hate that he makes a mess and I have to clean it up.
I hate that I have to share the remote, and instead of watching all my lovely Bravo shows, I have to watch something he would like too.
I hate that he has been home all day and it seems like all he did was play video games.
Now now, let me get to a point here before you all question why I am married to his man...the love parts are all true. As for the hate things...I am exaggerating for shock factor. And here is why...when we have space and distance between us I don't mind his chewing and gulps, I gladly clean up his mess, I love that he can relax and play video games all day long...all because I have missed him and am just glad that he is home. But, when I get to see his gorgeous face day...after day...after day...I become somewhat disenchanted with his presence and the things I love about him turn into things that annoy me.
The other night at dinner, I was telling my aunt and uncle about how I was working on this blog post. As the conversation continued, Steve said something that I think can put some perspective on on our relationship and the distance between us.
The conversation was actually about where we plan on moving in retirement...some sunshine/warm state...but, let's not forget about the fact that we have four seasons where we live now and how this is such a great thing!
Summer: hot and humid. Suntans and boats.
Fall: crisp and cool with the most amazing leaf colors. The first fire in the fireplace.
Winter: cold and snowy as you could imagine. Snow boots and salt on the roads...yuck!
Spring: warm and bright. Flowers blooming and bright warm sunshine
Now let's compare our weather to Southern California where it is 75 and sunny every single day, as I have been told. Sounds dreamy, right? But, if you experience 75 and sunny every single day, it is really that dreamy? Or does it become the norm to where you don't realize how good you really have it?
When Winter breaks where we live and you get that first warm day where you don't have to wear a coat and the birds are singing again, you take it all in. When Summer winds down and the leaves turn beautiful colors, you appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature and look forward to the coming Fall with the long nights and warm fires.
I can liken this to Steve: when Steve is gone for 4-days, I truly appreciate him coming home and being home. When he is coming home, I daydream about his presence. When he is home, I take it all in.
Since we have this variety on a weekly basis, we really are able to appreciate what we have in our relationship. When he is home I don't take his presence for granted. When he is home I love on him. When he is home, the kids love on him. We work this way. And you know what...I like this way.
How does the saying go? You don't know what you have until it is gone? Well, this pilot wife is reminded of this on a weekly basis. It is a good reminder for me not to take my marriage for granted, and to appreciate what I have...and this distance we have is why our relationship works the way it does.