Monday, April 05, 2010

Diary of a husbandless housewife

Staving off cabin fever by playing with PhotoBooth.
Jeremy was out of town last week. For the whole week. Saturday to Saturday. IN EGYPT. I swear I wouldn't complain about him being gone and leaving me on my own with the girls except that an absent husband isn't what I signed up for. Some people walk into that kind of thing with their eyes wide open (military wives, for example, and my hat is off to them), but I didn't. So when he's gone, it is rather traumatic for me. Thank goodness it doesn't happen very often. Here's how it all went down.

Day 1. I am already overwhelmed and the week to come is stretching out in front of me without an end in sight. Also, I'm a little bit sick. What a wonderful beginning.

Day 2. The girls both slept in until 8 o'clock. Maybe this won't be so bad after all.

Day 3. The girls woke up at 6.30, after not going to bed until 9pm the night before, and they each threw in a few nighttime interruptions for good measure. THIS WILL BE BAD AFTER ALL.

Day 4. Another day of freezing cold rainy windy weather. What a nice time for us to cuddle up, read books together, and enjoy being inside.

Day 5. More freezing cold rain. We're pretty much just going to stay inside forever and die slow inside deaths inside.

Day 6. The sleep deprivation is getting to me. It's not just that they're waking up during the night and then waking up early. It's that, combined with the fact that I'm staying up extra late to fit in some precious alone/sanity time. Plus, I know as soon as I lie down that if the girls wake up, it's all me. There is no one to spell me.

Day 7. The sun has come out and the weather has warmed up, none too soon. This saves me. However, I am just about out of made-up bedtime stories since I'm telling two each night to make up for Jeremy not being there.

Day 8. I'm patting myself on the back, congratulating myself on a job well done, with two hours to go before we pick up Jeremy at the airport. Then he calls me from the Newark airport security line and tells me he's going to miss his connection. There is no other flight into Ithaca today. I completely fall apart. It's as if my body has steeled itself for a week of Jeremyabsence, but not a minute more. I can go this far, but no further. I pack up the girls and take them to the park so I can wallow in self-pity in relative solitude for a little while.

Then he texts me to tell me he did make his flight after all. They actually re-opened the cabin doors to let him on the plane, which means this is nothing short of an Easter Miracle.

Looking back, the things that kept me sane were reading YA books (Shiver, Fire, When You Reach Me, and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and non-YA The History of Love), eating chocolate-covered almonds, and playing outside. Still, it's a miracle I didn't have some kind of a breakdown. Just imagine every dispute, every poopy diaper, every bath, every fuss, every owie, meal, mess, need, problem - I dealt with it all. Sometimes while going to the bathroom. It reminded me very much of being a PhD widow, actually. How quickly I had forgotten.

Welcome home, Jeremy! Now please never leave again, or if you do, lend me some bedtime stories so I don't run out next time.


Liz Johnson said...

It is actually strangely comforting to hear that you had 'forgotten' what it was like to be a PhD widow. I sometimes think I won't ever, ever, ever forget what it's like (or that it will ever, ever, ever end). But maybe I will some day. Maybe. I dunno. I'm not entirely convinced yet, but it's nice to hear that it's possible.

Susanne said...

Glad you survived, Bridget! :)

Crys said...

Amen! I think your body really does set a little timer for itself...or maybe just your mind. When Jason was in Jordan for 35 days and at 3 days to go called and said he was hoping for another week I totally broke down. I'm sure the extra days won't kill you, I mean look at those military wives they do much longer stints, but the cisis of expectations, well that does feel like it can kill you :) Glad you survived...have to love YA fiction!

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Your post could have been written by me--20 or 30 years ago. Fortunately Craig didn't travel a whole lot. But I know just what you mean about the expectation of dad coming home.

For me it applied daily too. On nice days we (kids & me) would often sit out front just waiting for him to show up. By 5:30 many days I'd just about used up my niceness. It's extra hard when you have kids who quit napping at age 2 so you're just wrung out.

EmmySue said...

Last week David asked how I felt about 7 days on (overnights) and 7 days off. I thought about it for a whole two seconds. Seven days home would be nice... but it would take that long to recover from the seven working days. Hopefully he was just kidding.
Glad you survived, glad you have your husband back.

Amanda said...

I totally know about the internal timer. I tell Tyler all the time that I don't really care how late he has to stay at work, he just can't call me at 5 (approximately the time he usually comes home), and tell me he has to stay until 7 because I programed myself for 5. If he calls at 3, I can reset my clock.

Good luck on not killing yourself or your children. I just did this not too long ago (although for only 5 days and not 8), and it was really hard.

Trina said...

At least you put on a good front. And always had healthy snacks for the girls when you were outside.

Merkley Jiating said...

I am glad I stopped to say hi while you were at the park. I had no idea it had been such a stressful week for you. Welcome back, Jeremy!

Nancy said...

I hear ya... :)

But you seemed in really good spirits on Friday! Probably because you knew that just around the corner Jeremy would be walking in the door. ;)

Jennifer said...

I'm sorry you had to be without Jeremy. What a horrible scare at the end there. I'm SO glad that he was able to make his flight!!

robin said...

oh goodness... as i read this i felt for you!

it's such a bad/weird feeling when you know your husband isn't available to help you. especially during nighttime.

and i totally know that feeling of, "i was prepared to make it this far by myself, but not one minute longer!" that text must have been the best thing to ever happen, for sure.

Brittany Cornett said...

I feel your pain. Justin is gone almost every other day. The days he is off are usually great, relaxing days. But he sometimes works over time and if anything goes awry my calm explodes and I have a hard time keeping it together. Like for example when he worked three days in a row and the sink backed up and I was washing dishes from our bathroom sink for two days. Ugh. I feel like after those work weeks that I need a vacation. Sadly there is no vacation from motherhood.

Kristen Sheranian said...

Wow I can't even imagine. I make it though the day knowing that Nate will be home to take Canon for a second...just so I can have a moment to myself to pick me up and then i can get make to life and reality. A whole week without help. You are amazing! What a blessing he made his flight!!!

Katie said...

Oh, I am so glad that you made it through. Jerry is going to be gone for 4 months this summer, and I don't know how I'm going to do it!

Teresa Jane said...

I completely understand! Jared works 2 weeks on (in North Dakota) and 2 weeks off. Then I am pregnant, with a 12 month old, with school... needless to say, I applaud his homecoming. I usually call him by the end of the 2nd week and break down and vent. I am not trying to be all "I have it worse than you," I am just sympathizing. I am glad that I am not the only one that has a hard time with it!


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