Last year, I was sitting at my sons’ swimming lessons, talking to my friend, Kim, and this is how our conversation went:
KIM: “So, how’s it all going?”
ME: “Pretty good. Nothing too exciting…oh, wait! Hubby is away overseas at the moment!”
KIM: (Excitedly clapping her hands together and jumping up and down in her seat.) “Oh, YAAAY! How great!”
ME: (Also excitedly clapping my hands together and jumping up and down in my seat.) “I know. I KNOOOOW!”
I suppose, that if a young newlywed or someone who was still in the throws of “young love” heard our conversation that afternoon, they could be forgiven for thinking, ‘Wow. Those women obviously don’t think much of their husbands.’
And on the other hand, I imagine that had another married woman who, perhaps like me, had been with her husband for 17 years, married for 10, may well have thought, ‘Hmph. Lucky duck. Wish that was me.’
The other week, I called my Mum. She had bumped in to my niece with whom I’d had a chat to over the phone a few days prior (she’s my age – it wasn’t a 6yr old running around at the local shops, FYI). Mum said, “T [my niece] said that Hubby is going away soon and you’re quite excited about it. She seemed worried…”
Ok – this could be one of two things. Firstly, my niece, T, may not have been worried at all, and my Mum was reading too much in to it, and was, in fact, the concerned one. Or secondly, T really was worried about the comments I made the other day when telling her about Hubby’s upcoming trip, saying something along the lines of, “Oh, don’t worry about me! I’ll have a great time. I’ll be livin’ it up!”
But you know what? Neither T, nor Mum, has anything to worry about.
Here’s the thing….
I love my husband. I do. I’m in love with him, and I genuinely love spending time with him. (Yep – there’s a whole lotta love going on around here.) We still sit on the couch some nights, the mute button on the tv whilst we chat, or lying in bed chatting and giggling and ribbing each other until the wee hours of the morning. Do we argue? Yes. Of course we do. Have there been some nights we have sat in stony silence, both waiting for the other to break the ice after an argument? Yep. You betchya. But do we usually wake up the next morning, no longer angry over the words spoken the night before? 9.9 times out of 10, YES. (And for the rest of those times, it lasts no more than a day or two.) Is he the first person I think to tell news to? Yes, he is. Is he my best friend? Definitely. Do I miss him when he goes away? Absolutely. No question. And yet, do I get a little excited when he announces an upcoming trip away from home? Oh, yes. That’s for sure.
Years ago, before kids, Hubby used to travel for work quite a bit. In fact, a lot. I didn’t love it, because I missed him, but I also didn’t mind it too much either – for the first week anyway. Having grown up like an only child (because of the large age gap between my sisters and I), I’ve always enjoyed time on my own. I love it, in fact. I’m quite comfortable amusing myself and I have no problem, say, dining out to lunch on my own, with only a book for company. I can quite happily go to the movies by myself, and enjoy my own company there (although, to be honest, I don’t think I’ve done that since 1999).
When you live with someone for such a long time, I believe it’s quite normal and ok to want some time to yourself. It doesn't mean you love your partner any less. It's just...difficult never having a night to just sit on your own and enjoy your own company. With all due respect to my lovely niece, her relationship is still, what I would consider, in its infancy stage (within its first couple of years), not to mention that her partner travels with work, so he spends a week or two away at a time quite often anyway.
T could be forgiven for thinking I would love that – but to be honest, I wouldn’t. I don’t want my husband away all the time, or even on a semi-regular basis. I’d find it very difficult if, say, my husband was in the air force and spent 6 months or more traveling at a time. But am I happy with a week or two here and there? Oh, yes indeed.
For me, it means I get to eat whatever I want (some nights, that’s just poached eggs on toast); I can watch whatever I want on tv without Hubby walking past saying, “Why do you watch this crap for?”; and I can stay up late, using my lovely MAC laptop (that he bought me BTW) without him saying stuff like, “Let me guess: you’re blogging again, aren’t you? Or you’re tweeting? I don’t get Twitter. What are you writing? ‘I had spaghetti for dinner.’ Who cares about that stuff?” and then, “Don’t stay up late, because then you’ll be tired the next day and grumpy and…” blah, blah, blah. Get my drift?
On one blog which hosts a weekly, Best & Worst of your week, I once entered mine as:
Worst: Hubby is away for a whole week. :(
Best: Hubby is away for a whole week :)
I received so many responses of “Ha ha! Exactly, Jodie!” and thumbs up from people, I’m doubting I’m alone on this one.
Am I right?