This post has been rolling around in my head for a few weeks now. I wrote about it briefly but still felt that a lot of things went unsaid.
As some…most…all…of you know, Stephen went out of town for a week at the beginning of June. As per his agreement with his job, his boss allowed him to move me and Olivia up to St. Louis to be with my family and still keep his job if he came back to Atlanta the first week of every month for face-to-face meetings, etc. Not a bad trade-off, actually. He keeps a job he really loves and gets to see his family once a month. I get to move and live with my family again.
Coming up on the First. Time. Apart. we were both nervous. He confided in me on numerous occasions he was worried. Worried about leaving us for that long without him. Worried he’d miss a milestone from Olivia. Worried he’d miss us too much. I told him I had the same worries. So, we both did our best to reassure each other. We reminded each other that other families do it all the time and for longer periods and we’d be fine and it was going to be no big deal. Meanwhile, each of us fretted internally.
It also didn’t help that the first week of every month is usually when Aunt Flo drops by. Hi, hormone imbalance! Coffee? Scone? Midol?
So, he left. And we were fine, for the most part. Then that first night came and it hit us both hard. I spent that week trying to stay as busy as possible but enveloped in loneliness and feeling out of kilter with everything around me.
Some of you may think this is silly. ”It’s just a week. Why is she so upset?”
And you’re right. It’s [just] a week. However. How long is long enough apart before one is [allowed] to be appropriately upset? And I don’t mean that to be snarky – I’m genuinely curious. A day? A week? A month? A year? More?
Several factors (besides hormones) played a part in how upset I was.
First. This was the very first time in the six years since we began dating that we’d ever been apart. We met November 2005. He moved in April 2006. We were engaged January 26, 2008. Married May 2, 2009. We have spent every night together and virtually every day together.
It’s hard. It’s hard when you’re used to a constant and that constant suddenly isn’t there anymore. That warm body in the bed next to you. The person watching and heckling the movie with you. It doesn’t matter if it’s one night or seven nights or 365 nights – the constant was broken and that throws you off. And people deal with that differently.
Second. Stephen and I are partners in every sense of the word. He’s Olivia’s father. He’s my husband. We help and support each other all the time. We tag-team with Olivia if she’s being fussy at night. He plays with her in the morning so I can wash my face and get dressed and put my contacts in undisturbed. We share the load of everything, support each other in everything always. Sure, it isn’t perfect and we bicker at times. But there is a steady, strong partnership that we both cherish.
It’s really hard to share the load with a baby when you’re 600 miles apart.
Thankfully, Olivia was [for the most part] great the whole week. Naps, playing, bedtime, etc.
Third. We are living in my parents’ house. This is my high school home. I’ve alluded to it in the past how that wasn’t the best of times in my life. It wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t great. Stephen and Olivia keep me grounded Here and Now and help me look forward always.
Night time was the hardest. The hours between Olivia going to be and us going to bed are Our Time. We watch movies, play video games, fool around, talk. We talk about everything and anything. Movies, Plans, Money, Family, Past, Future, Writing, Crafting, Coding, Projects, Animals, Dream Home, Renovations, Wine, Beer, Food…everything. But we [talk] every single night together.
Yes. We were [both] incredibly lonely and upset to be that far apart. Will we still the next time around? Yes. Will it get easier over time? Probably. Will we miss each other less? Never.
The only thing that will change is I probably won’t mention it again or mention it rarely. I need to get in the habit of not mentioning when he’s gone for when we do live in our own place and I truly am home alone with the kid(s). Also, the thought or actual knowledge of anyone thinking I’m silly or stupid for being upset makes it harder.
This all sounds like I’m defending myself. Maybe I am. Mostly, it’s just a brief look into my head because it’s chaotic in there right now.