Steve's Father has a boat, which he keeps on a large lake. As long as I have know Steve, his Father has had a boat. He started out with a Sea Ray, and now has a Marinette. Boating is something that I have come into, and something that I have really grown to love.
As long as I have known Steve, I have known about this guys weekend at the boat. Steve, his Father, and his buddies, get together annually for a weekend on the boat to talk, drink, and catch up since everyone lives in different cities and states.
When Ben was just a couple of weeks old, Steve enjoyed his lake weekend.
When Cici was just a couple of weeks old, Steve enjoyed his lake weekend.
In the past I have been very accommodating to this lake weekend, Steve asks for one weekend a year to go away, and I have to respect that. Right? Right.
A couple years ago I blogged about a certain lake weekend, that happened to fall over my 32nd birthday:
When Steve planned this year's lake weekend, I was made aware of the weekend after the plans were already in motion. There was no going back once I caught wind of the details. When I first learned of the date of the lake weekend, despite it falling over my birthday. it didn't sting so badly because we had so much going on with moving. My mind was occupied with other things. As the date approached, my side of the family decided to have a weekend at an indoor waterpark. We would have fun, too!
On Friday afternoon, Ben, Cici and I loaded into the car, picked up my Aunt and headed down to my sister's house. On Saturday we headed to the water park, and had a fabulous time. It really was great! Ben was not afraid of anything, and just had a wonderful time. We got home, ate take out, and had some delicious birthday cake - complete with 32 candles. Overall, it was a great way to spend my birthday.
At one point at the water park, my Sister, Nephew, Ben and I were sitting in the hot tub to warm up. I looked over at my Sister and said "you know, I was getting over this whole lake weekend thing, but now I am upset again. We are having a great time and Steve is missing it. This is just one more thing that Steve is missing from our lives."
So, here is the conundrum: Steve is already gone a lot with work, so how is he able to leave us again, willingly, for his fun. However, this is one weekend a year he always does, so I have to give him that. Right?
How do I handle this? How do I get over Steve being gone again, when this one weekend a year is all he asks? How do I tell Ben that Daddy is gone again because he is at the lake for fun? When Ben says "I want to go to the lake, too" how do I answer that? How can I balance this?
I am asking all the questions because I really don't know. I really don't know how to handle this. I am upset about this weekend, but I don't really want to be.
I know some people are probably thrilled when their spouse is away. You can watch whatever tv you want, you have an entire bed to yourself, you can eat cereal for dinner if you want. But, things are different when you are married to a pilot. Having your pilot home is cherished time, mostly. Having your pilot away from home is dreaded, mostly. It isn't fair that Steve goes away again, and leaves me home with the kids again. Is it?
Oh, the life of a pilot's wife!
Since I posted that blog post, I read a book that gave me good perspective on this. The full post about the book is here: How To Be A Better Pilot Wife. The part of the blog post that pertains to this post is here:
Now, as for the extra time away from home, this I still struggle with a bit. With Steve being gone 4-days a week I have the hardest time accepting him being gone even more time away...especially if it is for something that is extracurricular.
However, after reading Dr. Laura's book I know understand why Steve needs time away, and I am working on really making myself ok with his extracurricular time away. He needs the extracurricular time away just like you need that quiet trip to Target with your coffee in hand. He needs it like you need your girls nights out. What you expect FROM him, you should also GIVE to him.
Perhaps I need to read the book again, as I am struggling with this lake weekend thing this summer. It is happening this weekend. This time around, Steve was planning the date for this weekend as I was planning the annual amusement park trip with my side of the family. Occupational hazard of not communicating every day. By the time Steve and I exchanged calendar events, we noticed the overlap.
Each and every time you have alone time, it is bettering you as a person...which in turn will better your relationship. Pre-Dr. Laura's book, I hated that Steve was headed up to the lake for his "guys weekend". I hated that he was going to be gone...again...and that I was going to have to be solo with the kids...again. I didn't put up a stink up-front, because I knew Steve deserved it. But, it still sucked and I know Steve knew, deep down, I wasn't totally pleased. Well, after Dr. Laura's book, I am actually encouraging Steve to do these things. As a matter of fact, he will shortly be making a trip to Florida to visit his soul brother (I swear these two were split from the same egg or something).
He is a college friend that is his best friend. I have blogged about him before in Pilot Dork. Well anyway, Steve will be joining his buddy and I am encouraging him. I know they are going to get into shenanigans and act like they are 21 again...and that is good! Steve will come back
hopefully not too hungoverrefreshed and happy.
On Friday, after Steve drives the boat out to the islands, he will be sipping, lounging, and having fun. What will I be doing Friday? I have to work my normal hours, which will be extra busy since it is the last day of the month. When I get home from work, I will need to leave right away. I will load the kids and our crap into the car, and set off on our four hour drive. We will get to the amusement park around 8p, that is if we don't make any stops, and we will stay until the fireworks around 10p. The next day will be filled with sun, rides, heat, pop and funnel cakes. If you are a parent you know how taxing a park can be, and it will be all me managing the kids. I am a pilot wife, I am used to this by now. Yes, my family will be there, which is great, but having family help isn't the same as having your husband there.
By the time we come home on Sunday, I am sure I will be super exhausted. Long, hot days will have gotten the better of me. I am sure Steve will be exhausted too, from the late nights and beverage consumption. Typically, he will get home from the lake weekend, plop on the bed or in a chair, and nap for a while. I am going to be the one needing a nap this time around.
Yeah, maybe I need to read that book again to remind me to be gracious about this lake weekend because I am really struggling with it. I think only a pilot wife can understand these feelings. Was Dr. Laura a pilot wife? She couldn't have been.
Yeah yeah, I know that when Steve is gone, he is working. I am thankful for his work, because his occupation affords us a nice life. I know that Steve would rather be home than working. I know that being on the road isn't all fun and games. But, I still can't help be salty about this upcoming weekend.
The man is out of our lives so much already, that adding even just a couple extra days a year really is hard to deal with. He misses so much of our lives already. and to miss yet another thing is a hard pill to swallow. Maybe I don't mind these lake weekends so much when the kids and I have no plans. When our days our ordinary it isn't like he is missing all that much. When he misses these moments, that is when it stings.
At this point, all I can say is that he better come home on Sunday with the biggest fucking bouquet of flowers.