While working on this blog post I had a couple titles swimming around. They included:
3-day from hell
I suck at this parenting thing
I stuck with the Alone title, since I think it really does encompass this past 3-day from hell. I've been doing this mom thing for 10 years now. I've been doing my pilot for 19 years. You would think that I would finally have this gig down. Nope. Not yet.
Let the story begin...
My weeks are routine. Keeping with this routine keeps me sane. Admittedly, there are times when our routine gets tweaked, and sometimes I don't respond well to it. Take Wednesday of this week...it is a busy day at work for me. I post a lot of money, and it takes 3-4 hours to get it all done. That morning my head is down and focused. I'm close to exhausted when I am all said and done. Ah, but the story is just beginning...
If you recall (No Distractions) Cici has been having retinal, or ocular, migraines. She has seen a neurologist, an eye specialist, has had a CT scan, and on Wednesday we were back to the neurologist for a follow-up. Everything is coming out normal, for which we are thankful. Next step is an echo-cardiogram to see if there is any clotting issues...
Anyhoo, so after getting a shit-ton done at work, I had to leave about 30 minutes early to get Cici picked up from school. Then we drove about 40 minutes to the MD. Oh, I should clarify that Steve was working. For future reference, when it comes to stories like this just assume that Steve is gone and it is me doing the solo-parent thing...
The appointment went well, and we were there for only 20 minutes. When we got into the car after the appointment I called Steve to share details. No answer. I figured he was working-out.
Because of the MD appointment and my desire to not pull Ben out of school early and drag him along, I arranged for him to go home with a friend after school. After the appointment, and a quick stop at White House Black Market (since Ben and his friend were having a good time and wanted to play longer), we picked Ben up.
On the way home, Ben mentioned that he was trading a classmate a classmate 35 tootsie-pops for 200 pokeman cards. So, on the way home we made a detour to the grocery store. We also picked up dinner: sushi for me and Cici, and a baked potato for Ben. Steve called back while I was wrist deep in sushi containers, and while Ben was asking about how many bags of tootsie-pops he should get. Cici was probably whining about something or another. I simply couldn't take his call at that exact moment. But, I called him back on the way home. No answer.
We finally got home around 6:15p. I was tired. I was hungry. I was overstimulate. I wanted to crawl under a blanket with my sushi and tune out the whole world. But, mom-duty calls. Within 10 minutes we were about to sit down for dinner. I needed a minute to sit down and breathe....
...and then Steve called.
I, reluctantly, picked up the call.
"Hey, what's going on."
"Just about to sit down to dinner."
"Ok, but real quick can you tell me how the appointment went?"
"I called you twice. Why didn't you answer?"
"The first time I was talking to John about the boat. The second time I was eating dinner."
"Then, let me eat dinner. And I will call you back when I am done."
And that was that. Typically I don't get all bitchy at Steve. Typically when he calls I stop what I am doing and take his call. I don't track his schedule, typically. So, when he calls I don't know if he has only 2 minutes to talk or if he is in for the day. But, that night I simply didn't have it in me to talk to him. Hangry totally took over, and because he called the exact second I was walking to the dinner table, and because he admitted that he didn't take my call because he was eating dinner himself (probably with his CA, so I respect that), I owed it to myself to take time for myself.
And that's just the start of the awesome night...
After dinner, I called Steve back. We talked for about 5 minutes or so.
And then Cici had to finish up her homework. She had 4 pages of math work. She completed 2 pages while in the car, but told me she wanted to wait to do the other 2 pages "later." Later had arrived (it's probably 6:45p at this time), and she had to do it.
As she was sitting at the computer, her girlfriend came to the door. She invited Cici to go to the park. "Sorry, but she had to get her homework done."
This made Cici cry for the next 15 minutes. She was upset that she couldn't go, obviously. I had to listen to her crying for 15 minutes. Most of the time it was probably a fake cry - she is into that lately. Cici was also struggling with a math question, and I was doing my best to help her, but she simply wasn't hearing it. She was tapped out, mentally, and the only place we were headed was frustration-town.
It was right around this time when I sent texts to Steve to blow off some steam. I was tired. I was at my threshold of the fake crying. The kids still don't understand that I can't listen to both of them when they are talking at the EXACT SAME TIME! The kitchen was a mess. The dog needed walked. And, it was 1/2 hour away from showers. We were running out of time.
It was one of those nights as a pilot wife where you feel like a failure. It was only day 1 of a fucking 3-day, and I was sucking already.
So, I took to twitter:
I've been a total asshole to the kids tonight. But, I can only handle so much whining and people talking to me at the exact same time— Joanna (@comebackdaddy) September 20, 2017
Steve responded to my text with "have a beer." And that was all I heard from him. More support would have been nice. A text or call later in the night to check up on me would have been nice. But, I got nothing. This, folks, is what it can be like to be married to a pilot. He's an awesome guy - a great husband and father - but, sometimes you are just so alone when it comes to parenting the kids.
Ben is my balance. As the night progressed he knew he needed to help me out, instead of adding fuel to the fire. He helped me clean up and even helping Cici with her homework. We ended up walking Niko around 7:30. The kids got showers and watched a show as normal and were in bed at their normal time. We all woke up Thursday morning renewed. It was a new day, and I was in a good mood to start the day.
As I was taking a shower, I hear a noise. I peaked out to find that Niko had puked on the rug in front of Steve's sink. Thankfully Niko cleaned it up himself, so I was able to postpone the rug washing until I got home from work.
Despite the puking, I was having a good day. All was well. But, the evening went to shit around 6 when it was time for me to move the rugs from the washer to the dryer. You see, there were towels still in the dryer. And, there were clean clothes bundled into the laundry basket on top of the dryer. So, when I needed to do my work I was held up by the fact that Steve left me more work to do. He is awesome and helps with the laundry, and typically he completes the entire cycle of laundry. But this time around he did not.
I was actually talking to Steve as I was discovering this mess. We are managing the sale of his father's boat, and Steve was talking to me about an offer that was very suspicious. He, obviously, wanted to talk things out, and he certainly was. But, in my head he was repeating himself. Make a decision...continue talking to the guy, or stop talking. No need to talk through different strategies. I am quick to make decisions. Ain't no one got time to hem and haw over things.
I simply didn't have time to talk about the boat. I was hot - because 87 degrees on September 21st is totally normal - and I was pissed that I had to finish up Steve mess that he left me.
I bit back hard. "Steve, do what you want. Talk to him or not. I don't care. I don't have time for this. I have to go..."
It wasn't my best moment. I was an asshole to the kids on Wednesday, and I was an asshole to Steve on Thursday.
Ah, but the story continues...
I finally cooled off. Literally. I got my ass in the shower around 9, and washed off all the humidity. I poured myself a vodka cocktail and settled into the family room. And then I started texting Steve. Long story short, he was pissed that I bit his head off. I was pissed that I felt alone. I was having a rough couple nights, and I barely heard from him.
Pilots, here me out, sometimes the beautiful woman you have tending to your home and children needs to hear a couple things from you. Tell her she works hard. Tell her she is doing a good job. Ask her how her day was, and if she's having a bad day follow-up with her and ask her how she is doing. Don't take her for granted. Just like you can have a shitty trip, so can we. When that happens, support us. Encourage us. Don't go radio silent. Don't think that we don't need you.
Steve told me he was "giving me space" by not communicating with me. Him not communicating with me made me feel alone.
There is a physical loneliness that comes with being married to a pilot. That's easy for anyone to understand...your man isn't right next to you.
Then you have emotional loneliness, like those times when he leaves for a trip and it seems like the soul is sucked out of the house. Or the time you cry at Christmas mass because holidays are for family, which includes your husband. I have blogged about this before.
And then there is the loneliness that comes with being a solo-parent. Like, the times where you feel so overwhelmed with your daily tasks that you find a quiet corner in the house and let tears fall down your face. Or the times when you feel like you are failing as a parent, and all you need is a little support and encouragement from the father of your children, but you don't get it. Thankfully it is rare that I have that feeling. But, when you feel it it really rocks you. You do enough things alone when you are married to a pilot...raising his kids alone is the last thing you want to add the list.
I was thankful when the 3-day from hell ended. Some trips are just shitty upon shitty. They happen, we survive, and we then continue to march on through this whack-a-do lifestyle.