At one point in time, this was our normal routine. Him up and gone well before the sun and not home until well after dark. Me working my music gig and trying to figure out how to have dinner on the table when the end of his shift was an ever moving target. I just knew he couldn’t possibly understand how frustrating it was to be waiting at home to prep and cook dinner when he couldn’t even tell me how much longer it might be before he would be heading home.
Then, as happens, time passed, we both grew up, and our routines stabilized. We’ve been very lucky that for the majority of the last two years we’ve gotten home around the same time each day with very few bumps or detours. Those types of nights faded into the past.
He did learn what it was like to be at home waiting. The first week I worked for the lawyers, my very first Friday night involved leaving work almost two hours late. And I was in a meeting where I couldn’t even text him to let him know what was going on or how late I would be. He texted me several times and even called a couple of times. I sobbed the entire drive home, which probably should have been my first clue that the job wasn’t for me. During my brief stint there, too many of my nights were late for my comfort – I like predictability and routine in my old age.
Now, he’s back on shift. Tomorrow is the first real day one. Today he went in for training, not supposed to be long. With a noontime start, we figured an early dinner would work perfect. Instead, around the time I thought he would be home, he was texting to say they weren’t sure when they’d be done. I prepped his lunch, finished doing the laundry, and finally started dinner. Miraculously, it was ready as soon as he walked in.
But I’m out of practice. I was so frustrated by the news that he wouldn’t be home when I expected. Which is ridiculous. He works twelve hour days in a job that racks up over time like kids collect candy at a small town parade. One of his friends worked fifteen hours on their first day – three hours of overtime in the blink of an eye. I’m trying to prepare myself for that possibility for tomorrow.
I’m trying to remember how to be the calm in the midst of the storm. That’s never been an easy job for me. I’m naturally the tempest tossed waves, not the rocks that break them. There was a time when the late nights waiting for him to come home and the late nights keeping watch while he slept were as natural as breathing. I hope it comes again soon.