Some of you might know from reading here, that we've been doing the "husband works elsewhere thing" for more than six months now. I don't want to go on about it too much, as I have friends and acquaintances facing much harder challenges than me. Really hard things- like husbands with serious illnesses and operations, and hospital bills and losing everything kinds of challenges. I do that a lot, remind myself that mine is nothing in comparison. And I certainly know that there's many amazing single (and even married) Mom's out there doing - in practical terms- this and more indefinitely.
But the reality is that this is tough. It's a constant living outside of your comfort zone, finding a new "normal", and then having him home for a bit, and realising that this is what comfort really feels like, and then having to say goodbye again and again. The (somewhat dramatic) picture I have of this past term is me pushing a huge boulder up a hill, not being able to emotionally focus on much else. (Isn't that what a growth curve feels like?)
It's having so little time for anything (rest, admin talk, kids, even fighting and making up). It's the kids not having their Dad around. It's being without his present support and strength. It's being in "open heart wife mode", but having to function in "I don't need a man independent mode". It's me not having him around when things are tough- like when I'm sick, or when the geyser leaks and water starts dripping from the ceiling.. or the gate remote won't work.. or an unexpected all day/ night power failure, or a creepy insect inside at bedtime..
I've done different things to cope: leaned on God, stayed busy, isolated myself, shared with friends, cocooned with my kids, went into robot mode, indulged in chocolate, indulged in Pinterest, blogged, caught up on Project Life, worked on my dreams. Long conversations on cranky phone lines helps. I've kept it all in, and I've cried a little....I've tried to "be awesome instead".
It's definitely had it's positives though... Both me and him had time to grow independently in this time, grow stronger in different areas. We were once again assured that our unity can overcome many obstacles. I've gotten better at accepting help from others. I've seen again what amazingly grounded and adaptable boys we have. I've seen how I can adapt to a new place of contentment. I've again realised what we have is truly special. I've learnt that people mostly don't really understand and it's ok. I've experienced so much grace from God. I've learnt this is a process for me, and to be patient and gentle with myself. To say no to things that stretch me too much time wise. I've found a new rhythm at home, what once felt like hard, now feels like everyday routine. I've built boulder-pushing muscles. ..And I've learnt how to help a Praying Mantis out the door at 10pm.
I'm sooo looking forward to a new season coming soon, where he'll be working near home.
But till then- was it Elise that came up with "I can't do this, but I'm doing it anyway." ?
Ps: This started out as the intro to my PL post, and then the words just came. It's the most personal that I've gone on this blog, so a bit of a stretch here.
You might also want to read this blog on coping with loneliness (over at Beautiful Mess).
Word art on my photo is from Ali Edwards.