The husband is away for work frequently. The length of time and frequency of trips has varied through our 15 years of marriage, but it is a constant in his career and in our life. He just returned from a 2 week trip and asked me to pick him up at the airport. Pretty routine stuff – but I still felt those butterflies of excitement on the day of his return.
I spent extra time getting ready for work that morning and was giddy all day long. I made sure to pick up the kids and get to the airport in time to park and meet him at baggage claim. We found him and practically ran to greet him. I could not stop smiling; even though the kids were irritating and overstimulated, he was sweaty and tired from the plane, and I just wanted to get through rush-hour traffic as quickly as possible. He was home – my husband was home.
I hope I always feel those butterflies.
I like being excited about seeing my husband, even if he has only been away for a day or two. I hope I still get nervous and anxious (good anxious) about seeing him. I want to feel that rush of happiness when I spot him across the airport or see his car pull into the driveway. I love watching the excitement in my children’s faces when they realize their dad is home. With each trip, TDY, or deployment coming to an end, they grow restless and literally bounce with joy.
I hope I never tire of welcoming him home.
Sometimes it feels like time away is normal – and it is our normal. The moments, days, months, and years apart are challenging. No one wants to do this parenting and marriage thing alone. My husband’s job is important, both for our country and to our family. It provides all of us with a stable life, even opportunities we may not have been given otherwise. And I can admit that it is occasionally nice to have the space and freedom. I can completely book nerd out at night or dance around without anyone watching. The kids and I can eat pizza for dinner multiple nights in a row. We can do the things that maybe dad does not enjoy. I have learned more about myself and my capabilities in my time alone because I am forced to be the solo, responsible parent and adult.
But I did not marry my husband to spend time apart; I married him because I wanted to share a life together. Together-not apart.
I’m always counting down the days until he returns to us. FaceTime can never replace an actual face-to-face conversation. I look forward to every kiss, hug, or simple touch. The days are not as lonely, and the extra hands are always welcome. I get to start and end these days with one of my favorite people and the love of my life. Perhaps I cherish this time more because it is not regular; as I said, this is our normal.
After all these years, all the separation, all the struggles and trials…I still feel those butterflies. I love the excitement and anticipation. I welcome the nerves and flutters during the days and hours leading up to his arrival. That giddy feeling is better for my mental health than any prescription. I never want to lose these feelings and emotions, and I want to feel them whether it’s a year long separation or a quick work TDY. The time and distance do not matter, so long as he always gets to come home.