This super-short is in response to a writing prompt that is very dear to my heart. You can find the original post at What Inspires Your Writing?
Twelve hours had come way too slow. He had been stopped in the middle of nowhere with no one else but the engineer for ten hours of the day. Not moving. Just waiting for dispatch to give them a green light. Instead they will deadhead in a van with a sketchy driver to their destination: a dirty hotel without consistent wifi. Bored and tired, he was ready for the day to be over.
Ten hours had come way too fast. She really felt she could use a few more hours in the day. By the time dinner for the kids was finished, hers was cold. She did the dishes while she ate, with the baby chatting in her high chair and son playing Mouse Trap upstairs. Bottles washed, diaper bag and back pack ready for the next day. Her own lunch prepped and ready to grab for the morning, she takes a few more minutes to clean up the living room before scooping up the baby and carrying dirty clothes with her upstairs. Then baths, PJs, teeth brushed, stories told, milk refilled, bedtime snack given, cuddling the babe back to sleep, more milk, and finally she is able to take off her shoes and work clothes. Laying in bed, she keeps the TV on for light and mindlessly looks at her phone until sleep arrives. She can hardly make it to 9pm, exhausted. 12am a little boy appears and snuggles until she is able to wake up enough to return him to bed and fulfill his requests. 2am a sleepy girl cries for milk. Twenty minutes to satisfy her hunger and then back to bed. She glances at the clock. 3 more hours until her alarm goes off. She doesn’t even know what day it is.
There is a small group of women that I know can relate to this. Pilot wives and, in a small margin of similarity, military wives can also relate (I have been a military wife, too). So I try to do my sisters justice. Here we go:
- I do not know when my husband will be home. NEVER. I don’t know what day of the week he will be home and if he is presently at work, I do not know when he will be home. This is the cause for subsequent facts.
- He misses holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, funerals. Please do not ask me if my husband will make it. I usually wont know until about 2 hours before we show up. No one wishes you had more notice than me, so please do not complain about it.
- His job is extremely stressful. Aside from worrying about furloughs or forced assignments, people die on the rail A LOT! So when the hubs is stressed, Mama is stressed. And when Mama is stressed you better believe a couple of things may happen. Either the house will be spotless, or mama needs a couple extra hours in the morning to recover.
- When the money is good, we don’t go on vacations because he’s never home. When the money is bad, we live off the savings we built up from when it was good. I shop at yard sales and barter for things. My kids wear hand-me-downs and I havent had a new blouse that didn’t come off the clearance rack since before I had children.
- I have 2 different baby sitters; one for each kid. They are also paid on days the kids do not go because I usually can’t cancel the sitter until that night or an hour before they are supposed to be there. I pay them a premium for just being available.
- Sometimes I am alone, a lot. Sometimes I don’t see my husband for a week even though he is home because when I come home from work he’s leaving and he comes home when I am asleep and sleeps when I get up in the morning. These times, though it is hard to do on my own, I am thankful for because it gives me an opportunity to miss him and what he does for our family when he is home.
Its tough, but it works for us. I know years down the road, we will be thankful that we stuck out the hard years of low seniority. Hope everyone has an awesome week!