My husband is coming home tonight. I cannot wait. He’s been away for two weeks, and I think I am counting down the hours and minutes to his return with every breath I take.
When we moved from Virginia to North Carolina, we had to be out of our old house and into our new one by June 1st, so the kids and I moved to Charlotte the last week of May. 36 hours after our move, the Hubs had to return to Virginia to work the final two weeks at his previous job. And thus the longest span of separation we’ve had in our marriage to date.
I’m such a weakling. I’ve hated every minute of it.
My taste of “single parenthood” has been utterly exhausting. Draining. Lonely. Stressful. I know our situation has been compounded by pregnancy hormones and the sheer reality that toting around a 2 year old and a 1 year old when you’re 30-32 weeks pregnant is just not a recipe for peace and joy and family harmony in anyone’s home.
But I honestly didn’t know it would be this hard to live “without daddy” for two weeks. Meal times. Bath time. Play time. Prayer time. Bed time. All 100000% harder without my spouse around to help and stabilize us. The kids miss him horribly. I miss him horrendously. The minute he walks in the door tonight I can’t decide if I’ll pummel his chest with “don’t you dare ever leave again” or cover his face with kisses and laugh and cry and cling on for dear life…but either way, we’re really REALLY glad he’s finally coming home.
The past two weeks have given me new eyes to see the lives of my sisters in Christ who do this parenting adventure by themselves long term. The single moms. The widows. The mothers whose husbands are away on long military deployments. The women whose husbands have to work out of town most of the time….
You keep the faith and take care of your families with such grace and steadiness…when I now know you probably feel like locking yourselves in the bathroom, sinking down to the floor and sobbing. (I may or may not have done this myself sometime in the past two weeks…)
There’s a mother I’m very close to whose husband abandoned her with four little children many years ago. She raised those four children to be God-fearing, capable, intelligent, beautiful young adults. All by herself. She homeschooled them, cheered on the sidelines of their soccer and basketball games, and drove them to Church each and every week. All. by. herself.
There’s a woman at my church whose husband was called up from the Army Reserves for a one-year deployment overseas…just weeks after she gave birth to their 5th baby. This heroic Mama was in church every Sunday with those five children. She would walk up to the communion rail holding her toddler son on one hip and the newborn baby in the other arm with three little girls trailing behind her. Whenever I ran into her at the grocery store or at Costco, she always looked beautiful and composed and made it look easy. But now I know, she too must’ve spent time on her own bathroom floor.
Another girlfriend said goodbye to her deploying husband as soon as they returned from their summertime honeymoon. She was alone in their apartment when she took that positive pregnancy test. The doctor visits. The ultrasounds. The birthing classes. Getting ready for delivery. All by herself. When I thanked her for her service one night we were together, she looked at my with eyes that immediately filled with tears. “Thank you” was all she could choke out.
Moms do what we have to do. We try to summon strength outside of ourselves. We give to our children even when we feel parched and empty on the inside. We wash our hair and put on a brave face to tackle long days and sleepless nights. We do it because we love our children. We are committed to our families.
And for you Mamas, the truly strong ones who hold your families together when Daddy is not there, when Daddy might never be coming home. Who take your children to church and lift your hands and hearts in praise even when you might not feel like it. Who cheer for your children and create a happy home for them. Who put on lip gloss and comb your hair and look beautiful when you’d rather wear his shirt and a ponytail and never shower again. Who cook delicious, healthy meals for your little ones when you’d rather just serve grilled cheese or cold cereal for the umpteenth night in a row….
Can I just say I’m in awe of you. And now that I’ve had a teeny tiny taste of your struggles, I will pray for you and your families regularly.
And most of all, Thank you.