Allen has a great job.
He really has two jobs, though.
One of those he sought out. Here in New Mexico.
The other. Well, he was sought out to help with another project.
When I was 7 months pregnant.
We talked and prayed. And said yes.
We knew there would be travel. Lots of travel.
Now, I have 3 kids 4 and under.
And Allen travels at least every other week. Usually, it's weekly. To CA.
Did I mention I have 3 kids 4 and under?
We are extremely grateful for his career and success there in. This job is a blessing. We have been sheltered from the economic disaster. We have excellent health care. Allen can take time off at will. He is working on a project that has really big potential and could be great for his career. We enjoy some of the finer wants in life. I know all of this.
Sometimes, though, blessings are also trials. Like marriage. Or having kids. Or owning a home. You know, the big stuff we all want? Usually trials masquerading as blessings. This is definitely one of those. They say that the good thing with these types is that after the trial is over, the blessing remains.
But let me tell you, if you haven't had a spouse who travels on a regular basis, it's hard. Really, really hard. Hard on the marriage. Hard on the kids. Hard on the maintenance of the home and yard. Hard on your patience. Hard on your self esteem because you feel guilty because you feel overwhelmed and then you are short with your kids and your spouse and then you feel especially horrible because if you only see your spouse for, oh, 10 or so hours a week, you want to be nice to them but you're so tired and burnt out you have nothing left for anyone. And believe me, when you only see your spouse for, oh, 10 or so hours a week, there is serious pressure to give.
So, Allen tries with all his might to travel as little as possible. But, he is really working in two states. He has two legitimate jobs. IN TWO DIFFERENT STATES. When he does go to California, he does so with intent and purpose and a goal to accomplish as much as possible while he is there. He has been making more trips than usual to train and educate a guy there so that Allen can hopefully make fewer trips as the project progresses.
On Thursday, Allen found out the man he has been training has left the project. He's going through a messy divorce and without notice is gone. All of those extra trips? Yeah. Kinda pointless. Now he has to start training a completely new team. Back to square one.
Did I mention he's leaving Monday (I found out the Friday before) and won't be home until Wednesday night? Oh yeah. Tuesday is also our 8 year anniversary. Nothin' like spending your anniversary by yourself to kick up the romance a notch.
The sad truth is that we are merely surviving. This travel business has been going on for 7 months now. I'm tired. I'm resentful. I'm grumpy. My kids miss their dad. I'm tired of being resentful and grumpy. And sighing all of the time. I feel like I'm always sighing. Sighing when I hear about yet another unexpected trip. Sighing when at 5 p.m. on my third day alone the kids are at eachother's throats and I'm counting the minutes till they just go. to. bed. Sighing as I finally sink down into the couch at night. Alone. Sighing when I roll out of bed at 2 a.m. on the third night to comfort whoever happens to be up. Sighing when an hour later when someone else is in need and I'm on my own to do it all and know that in 2 hours I'll be up to do it all over again. Alone.
I get mad that he gets to leave every week. He gets to sleep, uninterrupted, at least one night a week. He gets to eat out at restaurants, alone, or with family. (All of our family, except for my mom and sister, live in Tracy which is the town we both grew up in and is about 20 minutes from the lab where Allen works. When he goes to CA to work, he usually stays with his mom.) He gets to eat without the shortlings throwing macaroni or spilling juice or whining about crayons and she's looking at me. He gets to take a nap on the plane. He gets to socialize with people whose vocabulary includes more than "mine!" and "Mom, I need..." and "poo!poo!".
I'm a pretty tough chick most of the time. But, I am not military wife material. I don't do kids by myself very well. Yeah, I can dig deep and pull up my granny panties and make it work, but it isn't always pretty. I get frustrated. I get lonely. I get burnt out. I yell too often. I feel sorry for myself. I find myself asking this question: Is it possible to be truly grateful and absolutely miserable at the same time? 'Cause I kinda feel both of those things all of the time right now.