When we first met, I was the one that took business trips. Bruce's big venture out of the office was to come across the street to the subsidary I worked in. The early years of our marriage, my travel scheduled slowed, but he still remained 'home bound' as I tacked on frequent flyer miles.
It wasn't until our first child was born that the tables flipped. If I even HAVE any travel for business its a day trip. Bruce, on the other hand, is on his latest trip as we 'speak.' Each time he travels I discover a deeper understanding and appreciation for the single parent -- those permantantly so or otherwise.
I'm spoiled, however. My family lives close and the kids adore them. The feeling, of course, is mutual. We spend a lot of time with Grandma and Papa when Daddy travels. It works out nice for all of us.
Except that Logan misses Daddy. He's been asking me every day since Bruce left 'Is tonight when Daddy comes home when I'm in bed? Can I lay in my room awake and wait for him?" Then Megan's head jerks up from whatever it is she's attempting to destroy at the moment. "Dada?" she asks. "Dada! Dada! Dada!" as she looks around for him.
And each night the answer has been "No, honey, not yet." Except of course tonight. Tonight will have to be "Daddy will be home very late tonight. Too late for you to stay awake waiting." Then when Logan wakes up tomorrow and Dad's already left for work, I'll have a new problem on my hands. Poor kid.
Poor Daddy too. He not only misses the kids, he misses out on the changes in them. They change so fast when they're little. He left for San Francisco on Saturday with a boy that was only yearning to swim and he'll come home to a "man-boy' that is able to propel himself around the shallow end. He's grown confident enough to no longer need a set of adult hands to hold him afloat as long as he has his big yellow noodle under his arms.
Dad left behind a baby girl that would walk mere feet at a time from one person to another or one object to another. He's coming home to a toddler that wants to do nothing but walk around the house. She even shakes off your hand when you try to help her balance as she yells "NO!"
The changes are always seemingly overnight yet the awareness of this is heightened when we're on our own. Me calling him on cell phones and emailing to his Blackberry -"Guess what Megan did!" or "Logan can now. . ."
Of course his absence also highlights what a terrific Dad he is. His pride in the accomplishment is as noticable in his tone of voice as is his disappointment in missing it. He plans for big things over the weekend to make up for the missing time. He does a bit too much shopping for 'gifts' as a token to say "sorry I wasn't with you." He'll snuggle them a bit longer tomorrow night. He'll hold them a little tighter. He'll clap even louder when they show off their newest feats.
And each time he returns, I remember why I married him. I remember why the little things like the way he has to turn on every light when he gets up early in the morning shouldn't irritate me as much as it does. The little things are just that and the important stuff is that he's ours and he's home. Tonight. Can't wait.