At some point you just start wondering the purpose of certain phrases, or you just start contemplating why things are the way they are. Oh, you don’t? That’s just me? Well them humor me… I was recently contemplating the significance my husband has in my life due to an extended work trip of his, out of country. As I thought about my life without him for 5 weeks, I realized there is (of course) a pretty good reason we refer to our spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, mates and better halves as our significant other.
Five weeks without my husband, especially since we have three children, is a significant amount of time, with significant impact on our lives. My significant other left significant holes in our little world.
And now that word sounds weird for saying it so many times, doesn’t it?
I came out of this little exercise in patience and fortitude with gratitude for him, myself and many others. But first, I have to say that I have never been able to fathom being married to a man in the service who may be required to be overseas defending our country for many months at a time, often times in grave peril. I still cannot fathom it now, despite my husband’s somewhat dangerous trip – crashing his fancy car, getting lost on safari trails, being just mere feet from some of the largest and deadliest animals in the world and sitting atop the world’s largest waterfall! Still none of that compares to the terror that a military significant other must go through with their loved one abroad in this international climate.
Second to being fearful of your significant other being hurt or killed while serving overseas, I would also fear the “getting used to it” part. There was a point about two and a half weeks in to Casey’s trip where we evened out and felt like we were really getting by nicely. Things were running smoothly in the house. The middle of the bed didn’t feel so lonely and the kids were occupied on the weekends with plenty of friends and activities. It’s not that we didn’t miss him, we certainly would have opted for having him home as opposed to still away. But we were used to him being gone.
Imagine doing that for 9 months straight (or more!) while your significant other is on tour in the Middle East. By the time he or she comes home it might actually feel out of place to have them home. That is a HUGE deal to go through. Mentally you want to be glad to have them home, and you are, but you’re so busy bouncing around the kitchen trying to figure out how to dance with them again during ordinary life that you both just feel completely out of place. It truly takes strong human beings to go through these emotional imbalances regularly through the course of a relationship.
But back to my exercise in patience and fortitude… there are a few things I’d like to point out that came to mind as the worst part of being a single parent of three, albeit temporarily…
- Being responsible for all the dishes, all day long, sucks
- The fitted sheet is just too fitted for my apparent ability
- No matter who, what, when or where – I gotta get up when duty calls in the middle of the night… oh except for that time I was so tired and maybe a little saturated from a lovely red, that I slept through the baby “screaming bloody murder” and my brother-in-law had to get him and TRY to wake me up
- At the end of the day no one shows up
- At the end of the day there is no one to talk to about all the boring stuff from the day
I discovered patience I did not know existed, and I allowed myself to veer from striving from perfection. Ironically enough, it made me better than before… imagine that. I made it a point to give my kids extra attention since they weren’t getting any from Daddy while he was gone and it benefited me just as much as them. And it made me wonder… why I can’t be like that when he’s here? (That’s another blog topic I fear)
My significant other is pretty damn significant in my life. And while I may have found a way to be perfectly functional and even, dare I say, efficient at living my life and running our household alone… I wouldn’t choose it. The significance of that is well, significant!