Let me tell you about my day.
Last night my husband flew out. He was only home for 24 hours then gone again like jet exhaust in the wind, which is pretty much the holding pattern of our life over the last six months. Gone 7-14 days; home long enough to wash his laundry.
Somehow in the throes of my sleep (however short-lived it was) I forgot he had left. When I woke up this morning and reached for him, I was met with the familiar coldness of an empty bed and hollowness of a lonely heart. Some days I just miss him more than others. Today was one of the ‘more’ kind of days.
Still, the key to days like that is just putting one foot in front of the other and keeping your eyes on the next step, which just so happened to be into a big, giant pile of…
Apparently, my labrador decided to take a big dump in my house last night. Twice. Maybe she’s actually a Poo-dle. Or Cocka-poo. Or Shitzu.
And of course she couldn’t just do it on the three miles of concrete we have downstairs. Nope, she had to go sooooo badly that she took time to climb the stairs and found a nice little spot right on the carpet between my kids’ rooms. Twice.
Not exactly my favorite way to begin the day.
After scrubbing the floor and emptying a can of Lysol or six just for good measure, I told my oldest to prepare breakfast while I did the morning chores (which includes feeding nearly 80 animals).
Since it was ‘chilly’ by the Texas-blooded standards of my kids, she fixed herself Maltomeal and her brother a big steaming bowl of oatmeal. He dug his spoon in, took a huge bite, and spit it out yelling, “That’s disgusting!”
“Be nice to your sister!” I scolded him, assuming he was playing the usual I-won’t-eat-anything-she-made game.
“Okay, Mommy. You take a bite and if you think it’s okay I’ll eat it!” he exclaimed with a sparkle in his eyes. Rolling my eyes I grabbed the spoon and dug in. I figured it was just bland and needed some brown sugar. I mean, it’s oatmeal. How bad could it be?
I took a bite and nearly spit it across the table! It was nasty! This morning my children learned an invaluable lesson about the difference between 1/8 teaspoon and 1/8 cup of salt. And I may never eat oatmeal again for the rest of my life.
But then the real butter on the biscuit–a phone call from my attorney informing me that a legal situation I thought was resolved had just had a gallon of jet fuel tossed onto the dying embers by a woman who perpetrated a terrible evil against my family. Three and a half years–that’s how long we have been embattled in this bitter legal chaos, apparently with no light at the end of the tunnel.
Evil should seriously have a statute of limitations, don’t you think? But it doesn’t, believe me.
At his request, I spent my morning sifting through documents remembering things I’d much rather forget and dredging up pain better left to rest. It all left me feeling empty and broken.
And very alone.
Make no mistake, I am careful not to confuse my husband’s intentions for the nuances of the career. It’s something we have to be extremely careful about differentiating between as aviation families–intent and nuance.
Though there are days like today when I desperately want to rest in the safety of his arms, I do not blame or resent him for something that is out of his control. I know he’d rather be here holding me too. I mean, how could he not!
But he’s not and he can’t–not today.
So how do we survive days like this? When even the effort of putting one foot in front of the other becomes an impossibly overwhelming endeavor. When he’s hundreds of miles away and you are struggling?
Community, that’s how.
When I don’t feel like I can take another step, they come rushing in to carry me. And I humbly accept because letting my stubborn pride get in the way of allowing people to love me is foolish. I’m a strong woman. Very. But sometimes even the strongest mountain can crumble beneath the torrential rains.
Today I felt my mountain quake dangerously, but the community of intentional friendships that surround me refused to let me fall. From prayers, insightful thoughts, new perspective, encouraging messages, a girlfriend lunch date planned for tomorrow, and a box of [strawberry milkshake] cupcakes and hugs that showed up at my door, they were there.
My friends are saints. They are essential in surviving the pilot wife life. They pick me up when I fall and answer when I call. They add joy to the journey and laughter to the lonely.
They remind me time and time again that if you surround yourself with friends who truly care about you and you live your life in intentional reciprocal community, you are never truly alone.
Even when he’s gone.
~A Fellow Pilot Wife