Lies, I tell ya.
I just did some more math. On June 20th he'll leave for five days. On July 27th he'll leave for eighteen more days. If we go by Brilliant Beauty's school calendar, there are eighty-four days from the time she got out of school until August 13th, the day he returns from his last trip. When it's all said and done Ma Luffin Mayun will have been gone thirty-three days of summer. That's 39.3%. 39.3%.
I told you I totally did some more math. And believe me, there ain't no "new math" that can make that equation less ow-y. I really do think I was feeling, uh, rather confidently capable when I wrote the last post. However, 39.3% makes my knees feel like they're buckling. Alas, it is what it is. And in the immortal words of BMB - poet laureate of a high-rise apartment in South Korea, "You get what you get and you don't pitch a fit." Most importantly, everything I said about the ultimate good these days apart bring about in our marriage (and consequently our family) is still absolutely true. That's 100%.
Round Two: the kids
When he's across the globe, we send him the moon in the morning since we're finished with it and welcome the sun he sends to us. Some of Little Big Man's favorite and unique words in his vocabulary are names like, "Nicaragua", "Dubai", "the Philippines", "Thailand", "India", and "Korea". We talk about the world and the beautiful people within it. I wish I could see the pictures they have drawn of these places and people in their growing little minds. We always talk about where Ma Luffin Mayun is and what it is that he is doing while he's there. It cannot possibly be easy to understand for any of the three kids, but I try to convey in all kinds of ways that daddy is telling people who may not know - who may have never known - that God, the creator of the earth and sky and sea and me, loves them so, so much. And that explanation, in all of it's simplistic truth, seems to be sufficient for the kids. "They don't know God loves them? Then, of course, daddy can tell them."
We have awesome family and lots of chances in weeks like this for the kids to see grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Sometimes we stake our tent down at Papa's and Tunan's (my folks) for a couple of days which is always a wonderful oasis. Nana and Pawpaw (Ma Luffin Mayun's folks) will whisk the kids off for shopping sprees or time in the sprinkler or anything else they can get into. Our family is a huge help to me and I always know that I am supported by them and that they are at the ready when Ma Luffin Mayun's away to help in any way they can. That's priceless.
Where it gets tricky is just in the reality that it all falls to me. I mean, again, I could have a dozen helping hands from family and friends at a moment's notice, but no one else can be mommy. And mommy being mommy is most needed when daddy can't be home. It gets tricky. I feel like I have to be "on" pretty constant. The fullness of the responsibility can feel downright weighty.
I have to learn in these times what regular responsibilities can slide in order to keep the main things the main things. These weeks are a baptism by fire in "choosing your battles". We may eat a little less organized meals and a little more junky while Ma Luffin Mayun's gone, but that way there is no drawn-out meal time prep which can be super stressful with kids hanging on to ankles or complaining about being "hungry NOW-UH!" Mom's sanity and everyone's emotional well-being wins out over the healthier home-cooked meals. Some days we batten down the hatches and ignore the world beyond our acre. Other times we drop everything and run away to the thrift store or a playground - ANYwhere - to break up the monotony of the same walls and the same faces we wake up with or go to sleep with. Some days staying on the go is the order of the day. Other times, the thought of piling the kids into and lugging them out of the car over and over by myself is enough to make me want to fall apart. It can be a fine line.
Like I said, for the most part we do okay, me and the kids. I could do better, though. Some things could still stand to shift down into auto-pilot when Ma Luffin Mayun's away. Even still, some things that coast would really be better served by my being more intentional. There's a huge learning curve.
I don't know who wins this round, Gloria or Donna. It's a tough one to call. Regardless, when daddy's away we still greet each other in the mornings with a smile and a cuddle and end the night with a story, a tuck into bed, and some soft music. That's definitely something far better than just surviving, and worth more money than I could ever work hard enough to earn.
And by the by, that 39.3% apart makes the 60.7% together super concentrated and delicious.
|She's sweet, but don't eat the baby!|
Round Three: outside relationships . . .