Four hours ago, Honey left for his first business trip since Poppy’s arrival. All weekend, he worked on laundry so that I would have very little to do while he’s away and, last night, he picked up groceries that would be easy for me to make for the kids — and a few “comfort foods” (i.e. ice cream) to ease my pain. This morning, he woke early to get me coffee and breakfast, showered, changed and dressed Skittle, helped get breakfast for both girls, and accompanied me as I dropped Cupcake off at preschool. Then he kissed Skittle, and Poppy, even the dog, before he came to stand before me. There were tears in my eyes as I said good-bye. We hugged. We kissed, and kissed again. And with his duffel bag in hand and a small smile on his lips, he waved and went on his way.
I watched him through the window, trying to catch one final glimpse of him through the low-hanging tree branches, memorizing the flip of his hair on his forehead, how he opened his door and slid into the driver’s seat in one smooth motion. I saw him look back at the house, but he must not have seen me standing there beyond the blinds because he drove off without acknowledging me in any way. The way I stood there, watching his car drive out of sight, you would have thought he was going off to war, with the threat of being gone for a long, long time or never returning at all.
I’ve known this day was coming for a few weeks and I have been counting down the days, then the hours and minutes, until the very moment when we said good-bye. Counting down as though I’m counting down to my very own death. Which is silly, I know. I feel stupid for feeling such dread over something that women (and men) have to do every day. But, still. These feelings are real.
And here’s the truth — these days will be hard. Honey is not at war. And he will be home by the end of the week. And as far as I know, my death is still a long time away. But these days will be hard.
Partly because I have three kids under the age of six who still require a lot of me. I am TIRED and need HELP by the end of a normal day, when my husband is home by 5pm. Right now, Poppy has the hiccups (which he hates) and is fussing in a bouncer that he has been in for less than five minutes after being held for an hour and I just want to cry because the thought of having to hold him nonstop until 10pm tonight when he goes to bed feels overwhelming.
And partly because Honey is my best friend and I miss him dearly when he is gone. He brings so much laughter and silliness into our home, so much strength and confidence and fun that we are missing when he isn’t here. I want another adult, my very favorite adult, to talk to over dinner, to watch Netflix with tonight. Don’t get me wrong — I’m an introvert. I grew up as an only child. I know how to value my time alone. But I also crave companionship. Especially his.
And also? This is partly so hard because my imagination run wilds and I start to worry about what-if scenarios. What if his plane crashes? What if someone opens fire at the conference he’s attending? What if, while we’re home alone at night, there’s a house fire or an intruder? Cupcake was crying this morning because she didn’t want her daddy to go and I started thinking, what if I have to tell her that he’s dead? What if we never see him again? It’s not an ideal place to be in as I embark on my sojourn into single parenting.
I know I can do this. I’ve done it before (albeit, with one less kid). It’s not fun. The days are long and lonely and the nights are creepy. But I know I can do it. There are many single parents around the world who have to do this day in and day out. It’s not always easy, but it’s possible.
So I will do it.
I will make it through.
But thank God for the pint of Haagen Dazs waiting for me in the freezer.