And he’s gone again

I find it incredibly fascinating that when Traveler was active duty for 4-1/2 years he had a handful of TDYs, but he had a sweet gig going on.  He is Air Force, but his AFSC while active duty provided us the opportunity to hang out with the Army.  I’ll leave it at that.  We spent his whole active duty time at Ft. Hood, Texas.  I know there are vastly different areas of Texas, some of them quite beautiful, but being relatively poor we didn’t venture out as much as we wanted, and hindsight is 20/20.  Killeen is not what I would call my dream place to live. 

Okay, my point above regarding being stationed at Ft. Hood was the Army didn’t know what to do with these Air Force guys, and the Romads affectionately called themselves the “bastard children of the Air Force.”  Active duty afforded him relatively normal hours (which started about the time I got pregnant with Smarty Pants) – walking in the door by 5 and on Thursday’s he was home by 3 because of what the Army called “family day”.  He went TDY twice for 4-1/2 weeks each and had various training exercises that he was gone for 4 or 5 days but for the most part he was home. 

Then the decision was made to separate (from the military).  He wanted to finish his degree at Boise State.  When he started back to school I was 6-1/2 months pregnant with Sass, who was born on the 17th of November, the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  I had a week of help and then he was back to his classes and working part-time and Air Guard drills.  It was eye opening to have 2 kids with essentially all of the responsibility of day-to-day life on my own on top of working part-time at home.  Let’s just say I managed by the skin of my teeth.  I don’t remember much of those first few months.  It was rough on all of us, including Traveler.

Due to Sass’s first 18 months of life coinciding with Traveler’s completion of his BA, she has always been a mommy’s girl.  Smarty Pants, on the other hand, had so much time to bond with her daddy from day 1, she is definitely “his girl”.  Luckily my Sweet Pea had as much interaction with Traveler as possible with him working a regular job with regular hours at that point. 

Now I don’t want to start anything.  I know bonding isn’t necessarily about the time you spend but the quality of that time, and that kids play favorties.  But it is alarmingly obvious that given a choice Sass would choose me over Traveler any day of the week.  Both Smarty Pants and Sweet Pea are both more than happy to take whoever happens to be around.  (Sweet Pea has been going through a mommy phase lately, but if I’m not around she is totally fine with him or my parents – very verstile that girl.)

Last week when Traveler was gone for New Year’s Eve work in Vegas, we had a sleepover with some friends (her husband happens to be Traveler’s supervisor).  The kids were ecstatic.  Come bedtime (after watching the ball drop in Times Square on my computer at 9 pm) Smarty Pants goes to bed and starts having a meltdown.  Sobbing about why does daddy have to be gone so much for work.  I wish he could just be home with us.  This happened, I believe, because we had just spent 6 days together for our Christmas vacation and the day following us getting home he left to catch a 6:25 am flight.  I console myself with the fact that at least she notices when he is gone and loves and misses him so much that her dear little heart can’t hold inside her desperate need to be with her daddy.  If the kids didn’t really notice whether or not he was around, then I would definitely be concerned.

And now he’s gone again.  This week he is up in Boise for mandatory training and drill for the Air Guard.  I was expecting more drama than I have gotten, but I would be a bald-faced liar if I said his being gone didn’t suck.  I like my husband.  My kids like their dad.  We like having him around.  He likes being around, but he also likes to give 125% to anything he does, so if that means traveling to attend trainings and meetings so he can excel, that is what he will do.  But he doesn’t do it because of ego or a selfish need to succeed per se.  He does it because he wants to make us proud.  He wants to be proud of the work he does.  He needs to be proud of the work he does.  The level at which he holds himself accountable is amazing to me.  To explain further, he is someone who creates goals that are almost impossible to reach.  In school he didn’t want A’s, he wanted the A++’s.  I, on the other hand, have always been one to be content with a B.  It’s not that I don’t have goals, but my day is splintered.  I don’t have the opportunity to focus on 1 thing.  Granted I don’t know what that 1 thing would be that I would want to focus on.  I suppose you could say I focus my energy on the kids, but with 3 of them, that’s not what I would call focus.

I question myself sometimes as to whether or not I feel burdened, for lack of a better word, because I do manage the household when he is away and for the most part when he is home.  I deal with the finances and the bill paying and all the crap that goes along with the kids.  Do I begrudge him for leaving so much?  Sometimes I do.  He gets to go to different places and meet new people and sometimes eat at different restaurants that our kids would never touch (or be allowed in) and have adult conversations more often than not.  But when he is here, I have his total support.  When he’s home, I try to have dinner ready when he walks in the door, so we can eat and I can get to work earlier rather than later so we can spend some time just the two of us.  He does the bedtime routine with the kids: bath, stories, tucking in.  I have my meetings every month that I attend.  Board meetings that get me out and talking with adults and doing important things.  He doesn’t begrudge me these few nights a month.  And, honestly, if he did I’d probably tell him where to stick it.   🙂

To be fair, I probably over analyze the situation.  I was always the one to disect situations in an attempt to make the best decision possible and debate with myself the possible outcomes and what impact it would have.  But I look at my friends who are scattered across the country and think about the lives they lead and the choices they have made and wonder how I would do in their situation with their choices.  And you know what? I’m content.  I really like my life right now.  Would I like to travel more?  Do I wish I could spend more time with friends I rarely see because they are on the other side of the country?  Of course I would, but that is not the life Traveler and I have created for ourselves, and I’m okay with that.

I didn’t want to move “home”.  I thought somehow that I was failing if I did.  I loved knowing that no matter how hard things were in life, that Traveler and I could manage and would be stronger because of it.  Did we have support from a distance?  Yes.  I knew that I could call on my parents and get support if I needed it.  My parents always had their door open for us.   For a long time (even after we moved back) I felt that coming “home” was somehow letting them or myself down.  After a long 7 months and finally getting our own house, I can appreciate the greatness of my girls really getting to know their grandparents and their cousins. 

So no matter how much I miss him and how much I wish he didn’t have to travel and be gone, I know it is good for him mentally to be able to be a part of something bigger than himself.  I could probably psychoanalyze him too, but I’m not sure if he wants me putting him out there like that…and since he’s not here….

Such is my life….and I wouldn’t give it up for the world.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Traveler on January 5, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Traveler misses you also!!!

  2. Posted by livinginagirlsworld on January 5, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    I love that guy!!

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