I am not cut out for a long-distance relationship. I have never really done it. I have watched many friends go through seasons of extended separation from significant others, and I have always considered these people to be of a stronger constitution than the average person. (namely, me.) I have so much respect for the commitment and sacrifice that is needed to maintain a relationship (not to mention a family, a house, a life) long-distance. It’s just never been my journey.
My husband is away for a few days at a work thing. He has moved in to a new phase in his career that has resulted in more travel. And by more, I mean “any at all” because he never really had to travel before.
One main reason why it feels so profound to me when my husband is out of town is that we are truly partners. I have mentioned often that Dave would make a better single parent than I would for many reasons. (As evidenced by the list below.) But I can survive when he is out of town. I know what to do and I can manage the family responsibilities on my own for a few days. I just don’t want to. I would prefer for him to be here. I like him. And his absence is palpable.
Here are some reasons why I miss my husband when he is out of town:
1) There’s no one to finish the last handful of the popcorn in the bag. I love popcorn so much. I eat it every night with grated Parmesan on top, just like my Poppy taught me. But I have convinced myself that I am displaying some degree of self-control by leaving one handful in the bag. My husband bats clean-up, making me feel better about myself because he technically finished it.
2) I have to make my own coffee in the morning. I actually enjoy making coffee, but since we have been married, Dave has been setting the coffee timer for about 4:30 am every day. I am not sure if he means to set it for that time. But I have come to look forward to pouring my first cup of coffee and having to heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds.
3) I used to laugh while watching my husband sweep the wood floors every night (yes, he sweeps the floors EVERY NIGHT), but I get it now. I have taken for granted the freedom to walk around barefoot and not get a small crumb stuck in between my toes. As my husband likes to say, “How in the world can so much sand get in to one boy’s shoes?!” (I may ask Josh to sweep tomorrow. He has a bit of his dad’s compulsion to clean if directed effectively.)
4) Ironically, I watched football by myself. After thousands of times requesting a channel change to “anything but more football”, I couldn’t help myself. I watched the second half of the national championship game alone. I think it made me feel closer to him. Or maybe the indoctrination is finally complete. (After all, I did play Fantasy Football this year.)
5) Our son wanted to wrestle me before bedtime. Let’s get something straight. I snuggle.
6) The laundry gets backed up. My husband’s deep love for/obsession with laundry has always been one of his most attractive qualities. I remember an older friend of mine telling me early in our marriage never to complain about his compulsion to do laundry. I certainly don’t. I think I can hold off until he gets home…
7) I miss my friend. The relational extravert in me misses one of my favorite things about being married- coming home to my best pal every day.
8) Watching The Bachelor without him just isn’t as much fun. Don’t misunderstand me, I still enjoyed it. But I wished he were sitting next to me, making funny comments and analyzing people with me. (Seriously though, what was the deal with that Ashley girl? Is she on opiates?) Another one of my favorite things about my husband: He boldly admits to watching The Bachelor of his own volition and never acts like he just sits through it begrudgingly because I want to watch it.
9) I stay up way too late because, when left to my own devices, I have little self-control and I get a rush from staying up later than normal and doing whatever I want. I know, I’m a grown-up. I can do what I want pretty much any time. But my rebellious nature loves the thrill of being awake when the world sleeps. Then I regret it in the morning when my son crawls on top of me and Dave isn’t here to get the day started while I maintain my “Morning Zombie Karin” persona for about 20 minutes.
I tend to cringe at the expression “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”. For some reason, it feels like a game to me. I picture a teenage girl advising her friend to “just not text him back for a while… Then he will realize how much you mean to him.” (I have a perpetual 16-year-old girl who resides in my head.) But I guess there is some truth to the old adage. Separation doesn’t make me love my husband more, but it does help me appreciate him in a deeper way. Missing him feels good and bad at the same time. I think I like it that way. I hope it always feels like that.
*Alternative title for this blog post: Why my husband is a rock star and I should probably tell him that more often.