i remember as a kid reading through a 3 page or so handwritten, black and white photocopied family newsletter that one of my mom’s friends from a previous place we had lived sent her for the holidays. it had grainy pictures i could barely make out. but i thought it was kind of a cool idea. so fast forward 20 years and i am for the first time ever doing a family newsletter for our family! and since this is 2 decades later, it is virtual, typed, and in full color baby!!
i am failing at this this week. kevin comes home this week FINALLY. it has been the usual 6 week stint, but it hasn’t been the usual 6 week stint. he switched jobs which included a false start at a job, a week of no job, 2 weeks of training, and finally working mostly nights. ughhhh. i’m not even the one who went through it and it was real rough.
with his return this time i feel like he isn’t just coming home from work. i feel as if he is returning from a quest through mountain peaks and desert sands. when i see him walking toward me i picture he’ll be dressed in tattered clothes, bearded, unshowered and weak with thirst. we will collapse on each other, “we made it”.
so as i await his return i’m in a state of life paralysis. no gusto for anything but him. this is the worst way to go about it because it only makes the days longer. but as each day comes to an end i smile giddily, knowing i’m one day closer and he will soon be here to end my internal agony.
the other night i was watching an old seinfeld episode “the pen“. in it jerry is trying to make elaine feel better about their stay with his parents in florida with no a/c, sleeping on a back breaking sofa bed.
ELAINE: Why is it so hot in here? How can they sleep like this?
JERRY: It’s only for three days. Today’s over and we have tommorow. We leave on Sunday. It’s one day, really.
ELAINE: Oh man. What is with this bar? It’s right in my back. It’s killing me.
JERRY: Oh you wanna switch? I’m sleeping on a love seat. I’ve got my feet up in the air like I’m in a space capsule.
ELAINE: I am never gonna fall asleep.
JERRY: Oh, don’t say that. You’ll jinx me.
ELAINE: How can they not put the air conditioning on?
JERRY: They’re nuts with temperature.
ELAINE: This bar is right in my back! It’s making a dent.
JERRY: How about that guy writing a check for 19.45?
ELAINE: I’m sweating here. I’m in bed, sweating.
JERRY: It’s one day. Half a day, really. I mean you subtract showers and meals, it’s like twenty minutes. It will go by like that. (snapping his fingers)
then later the chiropractor tells her she can’t get on a plane with her back so bad and needs to stay put…
ELAINE: (to Jerry) Five more days?
JERRY: Well today’s almost over. And weekdays always go by fast. Friday we’re leaving. It’s like two days really. It’s like a cup of coffee. It will go by like that. (snapping his fingers)
i need more of jerry’s attitude huh?
i was very skeptical about a job that would take my husband from me 6 weeks at a time. i thought i was asking for disaster. the statistics showed one of us would end up being unfaithful, or growing distant. that hasn’t happened <<knock on wood>> in fact our marriage is at a really good place right now.
7 signs you could survive as a long-distance wife:
1. neither of you has had any recent bouts with infidelity, great or small. if there is a seed of disloyalty, the distance could cause it to grow into something tangible and heartbreaking.
2. you have a life. whether it be a brood of children, a hobby you spend a lot of time on, a job. to keep your sanity you will need something to do other than simply waiting for your love to return to you.
3. you have a strong support system. whether neighborhood, community, church, or family. you have to have someone you can call for help from time to time.
4. it is a joint decision. you go into it together. fully supporting one another as you face the hardships that will inevitably come is key.
5. your marriage is well established. you’ve weathered a storm or two and came out standing strong together.
6. he finds happiness in providing for you. this will help him find meaning in the long hours and hard work.
7. you are an independent person with at least some level of introversion to entertain yourself for weeks on end
there are some things i <believe it or not > LIKE about him working abroad.
6 perks of being a long-distance wife:
1. our relationship is back to being about love: i did not choose to marry him based off his tidy habits and proneness to put things away. nope. i married a romantic, easy-going, creative man who just happens to be a slob. i’m not a neat freak so with just the two of us, and even with only one child, it didn’t get to me. but once multiple children came on the scene and there was mess upon mess waiting around every corner, a lot of our interaction had to do with taking care of this little kingdom we had built. especially with his role as a stay-at-home dad, there was way too much nagging and complaining about chores. now that he has been taken out of the daily household rigamarole, <and his clothes aren’t constantly littering our bedroom floor> we can get back to why we chose each other in the first place. and when he is home, i can hold my tongue when he leaves something out, because its only for a short time, and i can live with it. and if the house goes to shambles while he is here because of our party like it’s 1999 mentality, i can shrug it off. i know he’ll be gone before i know it and i’ll have plenty of time to clean up our debris while i reminisce about the fun we had together.
2. peace: we rarely argue. i love this!! now that he isn’t in charge of taking out the trash and i’m not late for dinner, we don’t fight. the petty affairs of life have been taken away from us. and it extends into the time when he is home too. i’m not used to having him around to do this or that, so if he does, i’m just glad and thank him for his help. recently we celebrated 8 years of marriage by going to one of our favorite destination combos, busch gardens in tampa followed by fort myers beach. it was a dreamy 4 days! we were so relaxingly in heaven together. we did not have one single argument, which for me is HUGE! to contrast, we had taken the same trip for our 5th anniversary and i can distinctly remember 3 arguments during that trip (he wishes i didn’t remember…its not in a grudge-holding way, i just have a good memory!). one of which was dumb enough to be based on him getting soda instead of water. yes, i can be that petty.
3. less daily grind: i can only imagine how exhausting it must be to try to pretty yourself up, tidy the house, and cook a yummy <but healthy!> dinner for your husband every single evening all while caring for the kids. i doubt that actually happens in most homes, but i know i would feel at least a little guilt about it as i fell short week after week. with him only coming home every 6 weeks, i get to plan out an adult, delicious menu in advance while i feed my kids chicken nuggets, fries, and root beer (that is actually what we had for dinner tonight). it doesn’t feel impossible to actually shower and groom myself on a daily basis while he is here because i know i don’t really have to while he is gone. and if the house isn’t tidy, the only adult who need know is me.
4. the thrill! remember that butterflies in your stomach feeling when you were still dating and waiting for him to come pick you up to go out? the thrill of his kiss? when i pick him up from the airport butterflies are all aflutter and when we hug and kiss that first time it feels like i’m kissing my boyfriend, not my husband, if that makes sense. i love the anticipation. waiting for our first chance to be alone…the passion is sooo alive. my parents read this blog so i will leave it at that!
5. home = vacation! we countdown to the day he will come home. and when he is home it is party all the time! homework is optional. bedtimes are extended. dates are frequent. treats abound. gorging is encouraged. after he leaves i look back on the week or two so fondly. like a brief dream life i got to live. the memories i have from family life before, that match these are very few. because of the separation we create some amazing memories when we are together.
6. an attitude of gratitude: the separation has taught us to be so grateful for each other. we realize more acutely how important we are to each other. he has said and written some of the sweetest things these past 9 months, almost matching the wooing letters he would write me before we got married.
i wouldn’t recommend to any and all couples to try this lifestyle. but i do think there are some indicators that you might de well.
6 situations where i might venture to recommend a couple try this lifestyle:
1. you or your husband have been out of work for a month or more and it is straining the relationship (the longest job search i’ve heard of was 6 days)
2. you are struggling financially and it is causing you to argue a lot (money in the oil industry is good, even for the unskilled)
3. you have a good marriage and an ambitious financial goal, but not enough income in your current roles to meet it
4. you are doing great as a couple, love your home, but can’t seem to make ends meet with the jobs available locally
5. you have been faithfully married for a long time and are looking for a new adventure/chapter
6. you love and trust each other but you’ve lost your spark and argue frequently about minutia