Around 11:30 on Saturday night, my husband returned home. Elliot had tried to stay up for his dad, but he didn't quite make it. In fact, he missed it by hours. My mom and brother picked Ross up at the airport and I was waiting in bed, watching a movie. When he finally arrived home, I heard the garage, then the ice machine in the fridge and the bang of his giant suitcase being pulled up the stairs. He set it down, said "Hello" (I said, "Welcome home!") and got straight to work getting ready for bed. I sat, watching my movie, while he hustled and bustled around, as quickly as a person who had been traveling for about 20 hours could move, until he felt settled enough that he was ready for bed.
Then he talked. But not a lot. He was tired. I was tired too.
I was so happy to have him home. In the morning, as the boys woke up for the day, their excitement was hard to contain. Of course they hoped for, and received souvenirs, but dad being home was like Christmas.
He had been gone since the previous Saturday morning. Eight days total. Now, eight days is nothing, especially when thinking about a traveling husband on veteran's day, a day to commemorate those who dedicate years and months of their time away from families, and even their lives to serve and protect. My husband wasn't serving and protecting in that sense, but he was teaching and taking care of some people in Wroclaw (pronounced Rot-slav), Poland.
Now, we survived, like we always do when he is away, and thankfully he doesn't have to go away that often. I had a lot of help from mine and Ross' parents. Thankfully, both boys were in school and our days were pretty uneventful. We had a lot to do, places to go and people to see. It was, to be completely honest, one of the harder (maybe hardest in the last year) weeks I've had. Ross left the day after Elliott and I had been knocked out cold with a 24 hour stomach bug. Wyatt threw up a couple of times. Elliott and Quinn had inconveniently timed and messy bloody noses. Quinn didn't sleep at night pretty much the entire time his dad was gone. I'd saved a week's worth of errands and projects to do on Saturday, to keep us busy and not thinking about dad coming home and not only was it a long wait, it was maybe the longest day of the week.
But, as we always do, we survived. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and we got a lot done. The house was a mess, the clean laundry piled in stacks all over the house, but the toys were put away, the island was moderately clean, and the floors were vacuumed and swiffered. However, survival isn't the right word. Of course we survived, why wouldn't we? It's something different. Carrying on your life every day, while missing a key piece of the puzzle is hard. It's overwhelming. Completely and utterly overwhelming. That's it! There is a hole in every single day, and it's a hole that no matter how hard I try, it cannot be filled. My boys missed their dad terribly. I missed my husband. I missed having someone to talk to at night before I fall asleep. I missed that man who takes care of that crazy baby every single night. I missed all the help that I get from him - physically, emotionally and mentally. Talking for 20 minutes a day through skype just isn't the same.
There is that old saying, something like "distance makes the heart grow fonder". Or is it absence? Doesn't matter, really. Point is, I'm glad he's home. And being home is a blessing. There were a few things I was nervous about while he was gone. Not hearing the baby. Having low blood sugar and getting in trouble in the night with no one to help. My feet not working when I have to jump out of bed and breaking my ankle or something dumb like that. Well, none of it happened while he was gone. I HEARD that baby. All night long, every night. But the minute Ross was home, I haven't heard him since. I didn't have any low blood sugar episodes the whole week. And my feet? My feet that don't work, have sharp pains (like being stabbed with a knife) when I try to get out of bed in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning? No pain the whole time Ross was gone. But, the pain was back this morning.
My little family is blessed. We are protected and watched over. And for that, I am truly grateful.