Mike is in Portland this morning. Yesterday, he was in Salt Lake City. Monday it was Houston. Distance. For the last 23 years of married life, there has been distance. Come to think of it, our engagement involved distance, too. We know distance. We know how to time phone calls for 8:00 my time/5:00 his time when he's working on the west coast. At home, we know how to shift the rhythms and expectations of a Sunday morning because someone has just arrived on the red-eye. We know exactly how long it takes to get to the airport.
We know homecomings. And we like them.
It won't be long now, just a few short weeks, and this life of frequent flier miles will come to a close. New job. Not nearly so much distance. Am I thrilled to pieces? Well, sure. I am. Truth be told, I'm a little nervous, too. Will he like being around all the time? Will we adjust to being in each other's spaces on the weekends. Actually, he will be in my space, won't he, because up until now, his weekend space was a production truck? I want him, look forward to him being there, but worry just a little that this space, this place called "home," might have looked better to him from a distance.
I'm re-thinking the weekend style, re-tooling around the house, almost as if I'm expecting an important guest. But he's not a guest. He's the person and the personality that has always felt "missing"--very much there in spirit as we go about our weekend busyness, but still off in the distance of the regular routine. Big gaping, 6'4" Daddy-sized hole that is filled with aching loneliness.
I wonder how many times I've driven to the airport since we moved to this neighborhood. I wonder how many times I've watched him zip that old green suitcase closed and swallowed hard so that I could say goodbye and he wouldn't hear the lump in my throat. I wonder how many weddings, funerals, and social gatherings of families I have attended without him, feeling awkward and out of place in the company of couples. I wonder how many times I've told a child," Daddy's working. He took an airplane to XXX." How many times I've rocked and distracted and tried to tell myself that he or she would be just fine, when really we were just limping along. I wonder how wonderful it is to live together all the time without distance.
I think I'm going to like discovering the answer.
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