Friday, May 19, 2006

A learning experience

Eric returns tomorrow.

I miss him.

I've learned much in the last four weeks of his absence. I don't feel like writing an emotional post tonight, but suffice to say, I am very glad Eric will be here tomorrow for the chief reason that I miss him. He is my husband, and he has been very far away and it hasn't been that much fun without him.

Here is what I've learned so far:

  • There is not much fun without him. In my case I've had plenty to keep me busy, but really, it has been lonely. For one thing when you have couple friends and you are not a couple, the social aspect of life wanes a bit. I had plenty of offers for help and I needed and used everyone, but I really treasured time spent with adults because there was so little of it. Toni and Roy invited me to their Annual Crayfish boil and I had the opportunity to hang out with them and enjoy a glass or two of wine, gumbo, crawdads and good conversation. It was much needed. I had lunch with Sarah and Robin who made quite a haul to do so--I appreciate that immensly. It was a much needed social outing. I guess, my foray into singlemotherhood (I realize I only possessed a few of the trappings) taught me that women need more than just help with the kids. And I learned how much of my social life revolved around our being a couple.
  • I also learned I would make a terrible single mother. Eric provided levity to the day at just the right time (I've sometimes referred to him as the second shift). I've missed that. By the end of the day, I was just too tired to cosy up on the couch (which is okay--we sold it) and read a good bedtime story to my son. If I did read a story I usually tried to get away with skipping pages. And I was much less inclined to read with "voices." Though by the end of the day I was definitely hearing them.
  • Eric provides a steadying effect to my life. I would say our relationship isn't as easily defined as most. I can't just say Eric is the steady one and I'm the flighty one. We're both equally in need of someone to act as a check on our ideas, schemes, plans, etc. And we've both usually acted well in that regard. This morning I made three trips down the driveway and back up in my car with the kids in the back to get "stuff" I needed to get some papers signed. In the end I just ditched the idea completely (when I remembered that I had to go on Main Street and it is festival weekend) and we went to Chuck E. Cheese. I'd never have done that if Eric were here.

Speaking of CEC, if I were Catholic, I'd see if I could count this time towards my stay in Purgatory. I'm not sure what purgatory is supposed to be like, but if it is a place of pennance, then I have paid. I have paid. I have paid.

And really it was almost worth it to hear the excitement in my sons voice when I said we'd go. But when we left and the elastic on the cheap pirates eyepatch, which cost us roughly $15.25 in CEC tokens, broke and he broke out in a wail that I swear caused neighboring cars to pull over and look for the firetruck, I was reminded why CEC isn't so great.

  • If Eric were here, I would not have felt the need to attempt the repair of a somewhat frayed relationship with my eldest by taking him to Chuck E. Cheese. I'd have let it ride for awhile and told myself and my four year old that his dad would be home at 6:00.
  • I can cook* and do the dishes, or I can bathe the kids at night. I can not do both.
  • One thing I did learn is that Caleb, with a bit of coaching, can appease Elise when she goes through the "hold me or I'll throw myself to the ground and beat my forehead on the floor" phase of her day. Here he is with a comforting arm around her as they watch Elmo. I know he looks a bit half hearted, but it worked. I learned this today. I wish I had learned it just 28 days earlier.

*Cook in that sentence is defined as me putting a banana, apple sauce (already in the convenient serving sized plastic container), and a peanut butter sandwich on a paper plate for the kids.

All in all things around here have not been fun, not that it should be. Caleb needs his father. I need my husband, and I'm glad he is coming home tomorrow.

To a house without a chair, or a T.V. or a couch.

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