Long Distance Marriages

It's not a state secret that my husband doesn't live with me most of the time. He works in a far away place and keeps a second residence there. We do a lot of skype chats, make a lot of phone calls and he's been known to pester me with text messages because as he says, he likes having me on a short electronic leash.

My husband, the romantic.

It can be tough not having him home most of the time. I like having him home. I mean, I married the man after all. But he has goals and I have goals and our family has goals and none of these goals can be met with him working close to home due to the industry he joined when he entered the work force.

I don't often write about the struggles of having a husband who is only home for roughly six days a month or a father who misses most of his kid's daily lives because there isn't much more to say other than it truly sucks. Both my husband and I move mountains to make sure he never misses the big events, the birthdays, the holidays, the awards ceremonies and soon to come, the first dates, the proms or the graduation events.

But he isn't here for the quick and dirty of family life. He misses the doctor appointments, the parent teacher conferences. He's not home to help fold laundry or goad the children into picking up their own dirty socks. He can't referee when my teens morph into hormonal ultimate fighting champions intent on tearing one another limb from limb and he certainly has not changed his fair share of Jumby's dirty diapers.

We are keenly aware of just exactly what it is he is missing and how much value to it there really is. When a parent buries a child you can't help but realize it is the little things in that child's life that mean the most. The smallest quietest moments are the ones that mean the most in life. It is those moments that spark us and see us through the burden of daily survival.

Our family does fine with out the big man under our roof. He's trained all of us well in the art of rural survival. We can all thaw a frozen sewer line or clear four feet of freshly fallen snow with our ATV and snow blade. Granted none of us have mastered the art of grilling a steak the way he does but then again, no one pours the milk into a bowl of dry cereal with quite as much flare as I can, so it all balances out.

When Boo does make it home we tend to cocoon around him and soak up his energy for the small time he has home. In other words, I am off duty. All parental obligations other than cuddle time falls to my husband. Mostly because my children abandon me for their father. Because they are ingrates. And they forget who feeds them 99 percent of the time.

It took us a while to find our groove in his absence but somehow we manage to make it all work. Some days are easier than others and some days I am thundering on the phone that he needs to GET HOME NOW BEFORE I LOSE MY MIND. Our situation isn't ideal, nor would I recommend it for any family but it is what it is.

I'm just thankful I only have to shave my legs once a month. There is a bright side to everything.

While my husband is away, earning the money to pay for my internet connection and to keep a roof over all of our heads, he likes to read my blog. He says he likes reading it because it allows him into a part of me that I don't always share on the phone and it helps him keep a bead on my current level of crazy.

Last night he called and lodged a complaint.

"You haven't blogged in a week."

"I know. I know. I've been so busy and now I'm sick and I've got nothing of interest to say so I'm just biding my time till my creativity kicks back in."

"It must be nice to only work when you feel like it."

"Excuse me? I work every single day. These kids don't parent themselves you know. And I'm dying of the plague and no one here feels sorry for me. My life dude, it is hard."

"You're pathetic."

"Yes, but I'm cute. So it balances out in the end, right?"

My life isn't hard. My husband's life on the other hand seems unbearably cruel to me. He's separated from the people he most loves in this world so that he can provide for us, for our family and our collective futures. He works unending hours, surrounded by other people who are in the same situations, all of them trying to cobble some sense of family together while separated from their loved ones.

And he doesn't have the luxury of foisting household chores on two teenagers under the guise of teaching them responsibility and team work. He has to scrub his own darn toilets.

I couldn't bear be away from my children and my husband knows this. So he works a job that provides us with enough stability to allow me to never leave my children's side, a job that enables me to witness every second of my kid's childhood up close and personal. He does this at great personal detriment to himself and I don't spend enough time thanking him for that.

It's my husband and the job he does which allows me to sit here and share with you all the daily foibles of living in the middle of butt-fark nowhereville amongst a gang of little hoodlums I call my children.

It's my husband and the small moments we share that spark me.

And I'm forever grateful for that.

Also? I'm grateful he is far enough away he can't strangle me for posting this picture of him:

There are benefits to having an absentee husband.

Still, come home soon. There are steaks in our freezer just begging to be grilled and we're out of cereal.