Today Mr Four pointing to our world globe asked me where his daddy was. After a few spins, and a few guesses of here, and here and a few answers of “no son” that’s Russia, or that’s Switzerland, or that’s Ethiopia, we finally found where his daddy was. Placing a gold star over his daddies ‘work place’ he then asked me why daddy had to go away for a long, long, long time?. I knew he would ask me one day, and I thought It would be a few more months down the track, so that I could think of a more kid friendly, understandable answer. But I told him the truth. Sometimes we have to have a little bit of hard, to have a lot of easy. I don’t think he really got it, and I don’t think it really altered his day, but it got me thinking. Why did I send your daddy away?
Three months ago, my husband sat quietly in the car staring at his children in the rear view mirror as we took our first long drive to our first airport drop off. We tried to keep the conversation light, and talk to our four year old about all the fun things we would do when daddy got home, but in the end Mr Four and the baby were both fast asleep at the very moment that my husband had to say goodbye. I watched as he kissed both of their heads with tiny beads of his own tears dropping on their cheeks. At that moment I thought the same thing. Why am I sending your daddy away?
When I married my husband years ago we were over the moon, crazy in love. We only wanted to be with one another, we didn’t care about anything else and only had time for each other. Seven years, two children, a world of responsibilities and a very hectic lifestyle later has meant that has had to change.
If you had told me on my wedding day all those years ago, that one day I would be living by myself with our two children almost 90% of the time, while my husband worked hundreds of miles away and we would only spend 84days of 365days a year with each other I would have told you where to go. But that is our reality, and it is the reality for so many other mothers and families that I know – it has some what become a new normal.
I never envisioned this, and I don’t think many other families love the idea either, but sometimes things have to be done. Growing up I watched as my father would come and go due to military deployments and commitments. I remember my mothers loneliness. I remember seeing her hold back tears to be strong for her children while saying goodbye to her husband, knowing the dangers that he was facing, and sometimes not knowing when he would be home. I remember being a child and missing my father more than anything, and not understanding why he couldn’t be home like all the other dads. After all of that, why would I years later send my husband away.
A few weeks ago, I was asked by a group of women, how I was managing this. I was completely honest and told them it was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. I sat there and listened and talked to them about motherhood, and the challenges it brings. We talked about working and finances, and marriage. We talked about the frustrating things ours husbands do, and also the amazing things they do. And then the night ended; and they all went home to their husbands, while I relieved my babysitter and sat at home and thought, Why did I send my husband away?
The other night, was a particularly busy afternoon and like most mothers will relate too, the hours of 4-7pm are a no go zone. Its hectic, its crazy, its full on. Everyone wants and needs your attention and you can only stretch yourself so far. This night, my husband video called at his usual hour, and realising the craziness of that moment asked what he could do. How could he do anything hundreds of kilometres away?. And then he began to quietly talk and sing and laugh with our children. I placed the iPad and the baby in the cot, while I continued on to run the bath. As I watched our baby through the nursery monitor and listened to my husband sing to our son’s, I thought why did I send him away from his children?
Then there daddy comes home, and they hug him like there is no tomorrow, and I think to myself Why am I going to send your daddy away.. again?
And the truth of it all is that I don’t have the perfect answer, or not one that would accommodate to every bodies opinion. I can’t explain to everyone why we would choose this, and why it’s right for us. But what I can tell you is this – there is no doubt in my mind of the love my husband has for his children and for me. I know the same goes for so many other families in this situation. Every single day questioning weather or not they have made the right choice. And every single day hoping that great things can come from such a great sacrifice.
This isn’t for everyone, but for some its a lifestyle that works perfectly for them. For some families it brings them closer together, and for some it pulls them apart
All I know is that for us, and for our kids we will make our 84days count. We will fill them with love, and joy and memories.
And on the other 281 days that we spend apart we will make them count.
We will fill those days with love, and joy and memories too. So that hopefully one day our children can say, just like I can say to my dad now.
That they knew that they were loved …. 365 days of the year.