Well, I'm getting ready to fly to Ohio for some job training for two days. I am both eager and apprehensive. Eager to start my new venture, eager to have almost three full days of no preschoolers fighting and screaming -- yet apprehensive about being without my family during that time. I think I can speak for most if not all mothers of young children when I say that it's hard to even imagine a day without some kind of battle of wills, without the arguing, without the mess that's created in the blink of an eye...
Tony is an awesome father -- he does so much more than most dads do, partly because he doesn't have an "office job" and can pop in and out of the house throughout the day when he has time and can take the kids with him to "work" on the farm at times. He doesn't mind changing diapers. He does bath time. He will often get breakfast for the kids while I steal a few more minutes in bed or check email in the morning or catch up with some accounting or other such work.
But he's not a mom. I worry...will he remember to put menthol-camphor salve on Susanna's chest at bed time if she continues to be sniffly? Will he give hugs and kisses when "owies" happen, even when they're just imagined? How will he deal with Luke if Luke gets on his "I only want Mama" kick that he occasionally has been pulling during the day? Susanna has been terribly fickle and willful lately (early training for teen years? early doses of hormones?) -- will he be able to stay loving and patient and understanding while at the same time not letting her run the show (okay, I often have problems with this one myself!)? Will he be able to deal with them by himself during church? He's a sound sleeper...what if one of them wakes up with a bad dream and cries during the night....or gets sick....will he hear them? Will they get well-balanced meals (I have everything in the fridge for him to fix...quick and easy and stuff they all like, like venison). What's going to happen when he has to run down to the farm in the evenings to stoke up the furnace and check on the animals before bedtime...when the kids are already in bed? I remember when I was at a conference last year and got snowed in an extra day...and some of the things he experienced. For a mom, we're used to dealing with that stuff (even if we don't want to)....for anyone else, it's often a shocking eye-opener on what a child can do/damage/get into in a very short amount of time.
Then there is the husband part of this. I'm gonna miss Tony even though it's "just" about three days that I'll be gone. Who is going to snuggle me at night? Keep me warm on those cold nights (although Ohio IS predicting warm weather in the upper 40s while I'm there!)? Look at me and laugh at the different antics the kids pull, the funny things they say? Help me stay sane just by being so stable and constant? Who will rub his back as he is falling asleep? Yeah, we survived over 35 years of being on our own, but we haven't HAD to be on our own for almost five years now!
How do couples who have one spouse that travels manage to survive this? I have a friend at church who has seven children....her husband is a trucker and she did most of the child-rearing and home maintenance herself -- how did she manage it?
If you remember, pray for us while I'm gone...that I'll have safe travels, that the kids will be well-behaved, that Tony will get much accomplished with his work AND my work while I'm gone.