Friday, January 22, 2010

Where our life was different for a month and could have been different forever

These weeks in January had us living our lives differently more than any other time before. Bill's official title at work is "Business Development Executive" and this title comes with business trips. In the last year he would go to places in the US - New York, California, sometimes somewhere up in Canada and I think Mexico once. These trips are typically short, a few days, never more than five and they are sporadic, having him away every few months or so.

January, however, left us separated for almost the entire month. This was by far the longest he had ever been away and the farthest he's ever traveled. He handles their International accounts, so after a week in Vegas, he was off to London, Oslo, Frankfurt, Hoegaarden and Brussels.

Being used to business trips, I knew I'd be able to handle things on my own here at home. With our busy schedule, we'd continue our days of preschool, playgroups, activities and training at the gym. I have an amazing group of friends and network here, so I really wouldn't be on my own all the time.

Logan, being older, understood more than ever what a business trip was and handled it very well. He was interested in all of the places around the world and was curious about the countries his Dad was visiting. So, we bought a large wall map and every day that Bill was in a new country, we put a tack on the map. He actually started to name the cities Bill was in. While Logan talked about missing his Dad and wished for him to be home, understanding where he was made the month so easy and exciting for him.

Not only did Logan have a chance to learn a bit about geography to help him during this time away, but we skyped with Bill as often as we could when we found a moment in the afternoon (which was late at night on his side of the world). The boys both thought this was hysterical, Logan dancing around and Carter waving excitedly. It was cute.

After three days of Bill being away, it started to get old. The kids were great, no massive tantrums or acting out because of the change. They were as perfect as they could be. And Logan? He had some kind of attitude adjustment, being considerate, listening to directions and mostly agreeable, more than he's ever been in his life. It was awesome. But still, it wasn't the same with Bill gone.

And then halfway through the month, the kids got sick and we had to stay at home for days. Logan missed a day of school, Carter missed playgroup, we missed a birthday party, training at the gym and all of the activities we had planned. The total isolation along with the unrelenting effort of being on my own caused me to breakdown in tears all day last Saturday. Carter was missing his Dad as well, clearly upset as he walked around the house pointing to all of the family pictures we have on the walls and then pointing to the front door, wishing his Dad would come home. This broke my heart. It only made me cry more that day. We also had a quick moment to talk with Bill on skype on this day, which ended up being a terrible idea. I just sobbed, Carter cried and Bill talked to Logan about giving me more hugs when I was upset. It was a mess.

The next day my lovely, lifesaving friends came to my rescue. We had a play date in the morning where the boys had a great time playing, Logan chatting up a storm since he had been stuck inside too and a chance to get some adult conversation for me as well. Another friend offered to watch the boys for a few hours later that afternoon while I got a break and had some time to myself. I walked around the mall with a coffee in hand and a moment to breath. This recharged my batteries, leaving me feeling like a brand new person the next day and able to keep on single parenting for another week without feeling so dragged down.

Near the end of Bill's trip he let me know that there was a possibility (a very real chance) that we might be Cork, Ireland. His company is beginning to move Internationally and will build and office there this year as well as in China. I thought about moving the kids to a new country halfway around the world, away from all of our friends, our support system, my work as a food writer and everything that we have built in the years we've lived in our town. We have it made here and life is wonderful. It made my stomach drop to think about leaving it all, but on the flip side, it would be a great adventure and we'd be away from the in-laws (which would be the BEST OUTCOME EVER).

After almost 20 days away, Bill came home late Wednesday night. In the 10 plus years we've been married, I'd never been so excited to see him. It was similar to the feelings we had while dating. I missed him so much and our family just didn't feel right being split like we were for so long. The boys were in bed when he got home and the hugs and kisses after he walked through the door were surreal. Tired from being up for 24 hours due to meetings and traveling back to the US, still, one of the first things he talked about was our potential move to Ireland.

After much though on his travels away, he withdrew his name from the opportunity. It was shocking to me considering the fact that I had been mentally preparing myself for this big change, a huge upheaval for our family, when it sounded like it was almost certain. The next morning at work, they had meetings about the next steps to take Internationally and made the decision on who would move to Ireland since it wasn't us.

Our lives were very different for many weeks this month, giving us a chance to think about many things (and believe me, there will be a lengthy post about our marriage). Our family was this close to being turned upside down and all around. An interesting January, for sure. The rest of the remaining weeks we get back to normal, but now it's the beginning of a new normal. A better normal.

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