I’m quietly awoken by the sound of the bathroom light being flicked off. The not-so-silent shuffle of shoes on the carpet. A carry-on being set down on the floor. A gentle kiss on my forehead.
Jay is heading off to the airport.
Half-asleep, I pull myself up onto my knees and wrap my arms around his neck. I tell him I love him… to stay safe… to call me – even though I know he’ll be two time zones away and that he’s not likely to get more than five minutes away from work. Then I fall back into my pillow and pretend to be asleep again so that he won’t feel guilty for waking me.
He says goodbye, softly, then I hear his feet on the stairs, his keys leaving the metal tray on our aqua table, and the front door opens and closes. Locks. An engine, acorns crushed under tires, then silence.
I open my eyes and begin to pray.
Lord, thank you for my husband.
Thank you for this man who loves to sleep in, yet wakes at 3:30am on a Sunday morning to catch a 4:30am flight. Thank you for blessing my life with a man who believes in hard work. Who believes that me being a stay-at-home-mom is the best thing for our family right now. Who takes flight after flight and endures the hassles that go along with such a job – layovers… redeyes… missed connections… then turns around and does it again and again. Thank you for a man who visits new and sometimes exciting cities and countries and comes home and tells me he wants to take me there… that he wished I could have been there with him.
That he missed me.
That he’s happy to be home.
Be with him, Lord. Protect him from harm. From temptation. From failure.
Be with me, Lord. Protect me from jealousy. From suspicion. From failure.
Develop a sense of understanding in us both while he’s away and when he returns. Help me to realize that he’s working hard for our family, and that he’s going to be tired and very likely stressed about the next big project at work. Help him to realize that I’ve been working hard for our family, and that I’m going to be tired and very likely stressed about the never ending list of projects around the house.
But mostly, God, help us to remember that You are in control. You have blessed us beyond measure – all we have is because of You and all we have is Yours. Thank you.
In your name I pray,
And then, once my brain begins to settle again, I drift off to sleep. When I wake, he will be gone and it will be days until I see him again. The girls and I will carry on with our day-to-day, and we will say a nightly prayer for his safe return.
Over the next few days he and I will most certainly have difficulty connecting. I’ll fall asleep at night before he returns to his hotel room, and he’ll be in meetings when I’m in the pickup line with time to talk. He’ll get wrapped up in his work and forget to text, and I’ll get jealous of his jet-setting adventures… which, of course, is how they appear to me since I’m at home every day. There’s a good chance we will both become frustrated at the lack of understanding between us – it’s happened before. Probably more so on my side of things than his.
It’s not easy to say goodbye so often, especially at odd hours of the night. It’s not easy to go days without talking more than a few minutes at a time. It’s not easy to go to family events and activities without him. It’s not easy knowing that many of my friends’ husbands are home by 6:30pm for dinner. That they can help with bedtime. That they have predictable (and local) schedules.
It’s not easy feeling like a single mom when I know I’m not.
It’s really hard not wishing things were different.
But that 4:00am departure – that’s when I reflect on how much I absolutely love my husband. How grateful I am for him. How blessed I feel to care for him while I’m home… even if he isn’t here with me.
This is the life God has given to us, and I have all that I need – even if it isn’t all that I want. Praying for Jay and our relationship right when he leaves us is what helps me keep all that in perspective while he’s gone. It makes it just a little easier.
I love you, baby. ❤