It’s been days since I’ve been asked to find his wallet or his keys, his ID badge for work, or his protein shake.
And for that matter, I haven’t washed a single shaker cup this week, nor have I had to carry on a telephone conversation over the sound of the blender as it pulverizes bananas, blueberries, and avocados together with strange powders labeled Mutant, and Freak.
When I was a kid, my dad worked his shift at the mill and was home each night for dinner and the six o’clock news. I can’t recall a single night of my childhood that my parents were apart. That’s just how it was.
But modern marriages aren’t what they once were. Surprisingly few of us have the benefit of a spouse at home, every night, forever.
Living with a spouse who travels for work, or who works ‘in camp’ is the pits. There’s a lot I miss when my husband is away. I miss being the only grown up in the room. I miss having someone else available to make decisions, even if I don’t always agree with them. I miss having someone else reinforce the rules, carry the burdens, and the groceries. I miss having someone else take out the garbage.
I miss physical contact. Certainly, there are plenty of hugs and kisses when daddy’s away, and while the hugs and kisses of children are sweet, there’s something reassuring about the simple shoulder-to-shoulder brush of arms as you stand beside your spouse at the sink doing dishes. There’s intimacy in the hand on the back as you walk out the door.
As I sit here typing, the snow is softly falling, and has been for nearly a week. I miss having someone else shovel.
But it could be worse. Actually, there are some moments in the separation that are quite lovely.
When he’s away, I make tea and drink it in bed, pillows piled all around. I read late into the night without anybody suggesting I go to sleep or turn out the light.
And when I do sleep, I sprawl. Nobody breathes in my direction while I slumber, and there are no audible nose whistles, save my own, which are adorable.
When the kids are in bed, I watch multiple episodes of Dateline on the big couch, and I can stare at my phone the entire time without someone questioning how I can possibly know what’s going on, and whether I can even put the phone down, and what’s so funny anyway, and who are you texting, and what is she up to?
The cat likes me best when he’s away.
Yes, it could be worse. Because let’s face it — some people have their spouse home every night and would give anything for a bit of breathing room. Or a lot of breathing room.
Absence, as they say, makes the heart grow fonder. My heart is fond.