Last full day

We didn’t pull the kids out of school today. It’s only the third day of the new school year at our year-round school. They missed so many days in the past year and a half that we couldn’t justify an absence today.

Tomorrow, however, is another story.

Tomorrow we make the drive forty minutes north of our home to the Sacramento International Airport and drop my husband off. He’s been home for two weeks.

Two long, glorious, bittersweet weeks.

You’d think it gets easier, being separated for large chunks of time only to spend a few days together. It does and it doesn’t.

I’ve learned to adapt over the past ten and a half years. Focus on me. Focus on the good days. Nurture friendships and hobbies. Find new books to read. Glean over the difficult day or so just before he leaves until you realize that this has become your life. This is your life. Suck it up and move on.

But it’s gotten more difficult in other ways, particularly when it comes to the children. The three wonderful, mostly-angelic children have come to terms with Daddy’s absence in different ways and different pacing.

The boy mostly sulks, is currently in denial of bringing Daddy back to the airport in fourteen hours, and shuts down for a few days afterward. He’s pretty reasonable and I can talk to him about a lot of things. How much more difficult it would be if we had lived in Virginia until Daddy retired and THEN moved right before sixth grade. He understands that. He understands that NOW. He won’t be able to tomorrow or for the next few days though.

The middle child is having a tough time today. We picked her and her brother up afterschool at the park and surprised them with a quick trip to the pool. “Okay, guys,” I said. “The plan is to go to the pool, pick up some McDonalds, and watch ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ before we drop off Daddy at the airport tomorrow.”

She made a noise that was part whine, part gasp, and part growl. “But we just picked him up!” she yelled from the backseat. Disappointment in her voice, a tinge of anger toward me as if I was the one who wanted him to leave.

The baby, who is not a baby anymore at four years old, doesn’t really understand still. She can’t hide her feelings so I’ll know how she’s feeling as soon as we drop him off at the airport and the dreary days to come.

Even now when my husband tells me I should get my last coffee break in for a while, I don’t have the motivation.

“It’s too hot,” I said, knowing full well that a soy caramel frap, no whipped, would hit the spot.

We’ll be okay. He’ll probably be back before Thanksgiving and then for a long Christmas break in December.

Today just sucks, that’s all.

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