10 Thoughts I Had When My Husband Went Away

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I don’t have a husband who travels for business, or pleasure, or really ever travels at all. In the more than 20 years we’ve been together, we’ve never even had reason or opportunity to be apart for more than five days. So when he decided to return home to the Philippines for the first time in 25 years, we knew this trip would be a long one.

With so much family to see and so much lost time to make up for, he decided he’d stay 16 days. And while 16 days may seem like a mere blip on the calendar for wives of business travelers, touring rock stars, or military personnel, 16 days was sure to feel like a lifetime to our family.

And I’ll admit, I felt a little nervous for him to be gone so long. It didn’t matter that I’m always alone with the kids or that I could manage the daily grind like a boss. The 1/2 monthly grind was a whole ‘nother animal and we all knew it.

As I sit down to write to you from day 11 of 16, the following 10 thoughts have taken up permanent residence in my mind (and from what I hear, I’m not alone):

1. A rat better not die in the walls.

Rats die in the walls of even the cleanest homes and two days before my husband departed, I caught a whiff of that same horrible, almost rotten broccoli-smelling smelly smell that nearly forced us out of our house a few years back when a rat died in our attic. “OH MY GOD, DON’T LEAVE ME!” I begged as I took my knowing nose to the far corners of our property line. Thankfully, the smell (what was it? fear?) dissipated the following day, but would we experience a major earthquake, another slab leak, or another ridiculous woodpecker problem in his absence? House disasters always happen at the most inopportune times, and while I could surely Google my way to a costly solution in the face of almost any disaster, I’d hate to spend the money on a fix he could have otherwise handled.

2. Computer, please don’t crash.

OK, so maybe not every wife obsesses over this particular thought, but as a person who works on a computer all day without even a basic understanding of how to fix frozen screens, network errors, or printers that just won’t print, I feel uneasy without my resident IT guy around. For all the bazillion times my husband warned me, “Lori, you really ought to know how to do this,” it never really mattered until now — and yes, I have only myself to blame. So I’m careful with my computer these days. I baby her. I talk sweet to her. I only click on trusted sites. And so far things are going pretty well, but I don’t want to press my luck (or some random accidental command).

3. What if I hurt myself, like really badly?

You know when you nearly slice off your finger cooking and you need someone to drive you to the emergency room stat? Who’s gonna do that now that he’s not here? I wouldn’t call an ambulance for something so ungurney-worthy, so do I just bleed all over the Prius and drive myself? Or do I just play it safe with take-out?

4. I don’t have to shave my legs …

… or anything else! It’s a special kind of freedom knowing that it’s my party and I’ll grow beastly if I want to. Because I want to.

5. Is there a grownup in the house? Oh wait, that’s me.

Being the only person of age under this roof willing and/or able to discipline, protect, cook, clean, fold, dump, drive, shop, work, reach, and talk about anything other than Minecraft is exhausting and lonely and supremely unfun. Help!

6. Trash day sucks.

Hey, it ain’t my chore. Except now it is … along with everything else.

7. Did you hear that?

Shh! Everybody, be cool. It’s just the neighborhood cat … or a burglar … or a ghost … but probably an axe murderer.

8. The bed is so big … too big.

As eager as I was that first night to stretch my limbs to the far reaches of my very own pillow-top paradise, something didn’t feel quite right. I missed the warmth of his body next to mine. I missed having someone to talk to at the end of a long day. I even missed his ridiculous snoring. Miles and miles of foam and natural fibers could hardly make up for the cold and lonely void on the left side of my bed. That settles it, sleep is just better shared.

9. When is it my turn?

Not that I’m keeping score or anything (OK, I totally am), but the last time I took a 16 day vacation was hmm … let me see … never. And I’m not even asking for 16 days. Heck, I’d even settle for 16 hours!

10. I miss him so much.

Yeah, I know it sounds cheesy, but I miss him. I miss his hugs. I miss his jokes. I miss his morning coffee. I even miss arguing over the thermostat or the necessity of navigation. In the time he’s been gone I’ve learned that while I can do it all on my own, life’s so much better with my best friend by my side.

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