Thursday, January 31, 2008

TEG's week off

A long time ago, a friend of mine married her boyfriend in a whirlwind. They met just when he had signed up to join the Navy (literally, a few days later), and thus had very little time together before he went through basic training and shipped out. She had thought she could handle it; even relished the romance of it all. “I'll be able to visit him in so many places!” she gushed. “And the Navy takes care of basically, well, everything!”

So, they got married by a Justice of the Peace our first year of college (saving up for the Big Catholic wedding of their dreams, which they finally had about four years later), moved to Virginia, and my friend's husband, newly flushed with matrimony, left her again.

It didn't take her long to become discontented.

“He's gone all the time! I'm here all alone!” she would wail on the phone. I tried to be sympathetic, in spite of my conviction that she had rushed into this (she hadn't—they are still together over fifteen years later). But, well...she knew this, right? He hadn't hidden it from her. I still hated to hear her crying.

Finally, she called to tell me, triumphantly, that her husband was getting honorably discharged due to her depressive episodes when he was gone. Basically, they had convinced the authorities that she was so unstable without him that she might actually harm herself. I remember thinking that she had apparently sabotaged something he had ostensibly wanted to do (well, at least before he met her) and was apparently proud of this fact. Frankly, I thought she had been a trifle, well, hysterical about the whole thing.

I was reminded of all this tonight when I realized that it was Thursday. TEG's week long vacation is almost over.

I would be happy to convince any possible authority to let me have him for longer.

Oh, friends, it's been WONDERFUL. He's spent so much time playing with Madam, filling the house with her shrieks during their elaborate games, patiently honoring her many requests to “do stuck” together on the couch, his dark head balanced lightly on her pudgy little legs while they read together. And he's reading again, about passions he's had since we first met, and hasn't been able to explore because he's been so busy. He's let me sleep in, sneak out to meet Jessie.

Best of all, the tense atmosphere that too often pervades the apartment is gone—that feeling that the roof is too close over my head. He hasn't had to bark, “I'm busy!” at any of us all week. He hasn't had to fight off a clinging, crying toddler as he went into the next room to make an important phone call. I haven't gone gray(er) worrying about her noise level during said important phone call.

But now, it's all coming to a close, and it's making me a little teary eyed. I know he needs to work; I'm grateful that he works so hard, enabling me to stay home with the Madam full time. But...the intense, driven way he works, that start-up, 24/7 instability---after four years of this, it's wearying. I miss him already, and I dread to see how Madam reacts to the return of the old way, especially now that she's had a taste of something so very much better.

So, I remember my old friend, and I think I understand her better now. She did know what she was getting into. She just didn't know that she couldn't quite handle it.

This isn't what I came here to write, but I guess it's what I wanted to say.

More cheerful post tomorrow.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Lisa said...

No matter how well we think it through, I don't think we ever really know what we're getting into. That's probably a good thing most times :)

11:55 AM, February 01, 2008  
Blogger Deirdre said...

We often spend our vacations at home too, just dropping into the closeness that being on the same schedule brings. It always helps us remember why we fell in love.

I hope this week of family time helps balance the hectic schedule of a busy career and a fast-growing toddler. Plan another soon. It eases the return to *real* life.

9:53 PM, February 01, 2008  
Anonymous Fern said...

I'm so glad you got a chance to have this time with TEG, and I'm thrilled he finally took a little time off! He's doing all that he does because he loves you both very much, I'm sure of it. I hope you both can find a way to keep some of that peace you felt this week for the rest of the year. I'm rooting for you!

10:23 PM, February 01, 2008  
Blogger Jessie said...

oh dear, m., i truly hope that the two of you will be able to find a balance someday soon. may TEG be graced with an early retirement very, very soon! ;)

love you. it was so nice to see you--even if it was FREEZING cold out! :)-

j.

3:28 PM, February 03, 2008  
Blogger Amber said...

I so know what you mean. I hate when Kory is gone too much. I hate when he leaves for business. I wish he could work from home, even. (Kinda. LOL!)

Before we had kids, when we were in school, we worked in the same place for a long time. we spent so much time together, people would ask us if we didn't just get sick of it. But we didn't. I would like to own business together, or something...

ox :)

10:58 AM, February 04, 2008  
Blogger Melba said...

I read your post a few days ago but Maggie was sitting on my lap and not really letting me type. She likes to touch my face with both her hands to get my attention.

I totally get how the day is different when there is someone else around. Every Mother should have a built in helper~ wouldn't that be nice! I was a mother's helper all through school...sometimes getting paid practically nothing, but I always loved it and I now know how awesome it was for the Moms. Today though that is pretty impossible. My niece makes $12 an hour babysitting 1 child. Who can afford that!

Talk to you later! :)
XO,
Melba

1:44 PM, February 04, 2008  

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