So once again, we reach my least favorite part of the week. It’s not his fault that he has to go. It’s his job. To anyone who’s ever loved a person who travels for work, I salute you. It takes a special person to keep a brave face, smile and wish them safe travels when all you want to do is cling to them and keep them home with you.
I had him home with me. I had him home for twenty years. He worked a regular job in an office. He was home with me every evening. He slept beside me every night, and I didn’t appreciate what I had. I was stupid. I took him for granted. Now that he spends his week driving, I find that I miss those nights when he slept here beside me.
Times changed almost six years ago. He lost his office job, and to continue in the same line of work he would have had to start over again at the bottom. Places weren’t hiring, and the ones that were wanted people with college degrees. The only jobs open were temporary spots at an entry level with an entry-level salary. He didn’t want that.
He chose a life on the road. Driving is what he’s good at. In times of stress in our younger years, he often got behind the wheel and went for a long drive so he could think. Many dates and family outings were long car rides to nowhere that turned into adventures along the way. Those long car rides were harder on me. I have never been good at wandering aimlessly, and my father was famous for losing his cool behind the wheel when my mother planned trips with long drives. I ended up like my Dad, wanting a destination in mind and getting nervous when there wasn’t one. I find now that I miss those endless car rides where something awesome might (or might not) be waiting around the next bend.
When my least favorite part of the week arrives, I watch as he scurries to and fro, packing and getting ready to leave. I call out the verbal checklist, asking if he’s forgotten anything. I pack his blood pressure medicine for the week, and I watch as he carries things out to the car. A hug and several kisses later, he’s gone. I always stand in the doorway and watch him go, and I always cry.
When he comes home to me at the end of the week, he’s dirty and he’s tired. He showers first thing and usually goes right to bed. I end up with the bag of smelly laundry covered in mud, truck grease, diesel smell and man sweat. Most weekends we have approximately 34 hours together. When you factor in sleeping, it ends up being closer to 24 hours. Our schedules usually don’t mesh. He sleeps at odd hours on the road, and his sleep schedule will often be off when he gets home.
I try not to bother him on the road with petty things, but it can be hard when things break around the house and we don’t know how to fix them. I’m certain he wasn’t wild about the hysterical phone calls about the toilet leaking into the basement (turn the water off and call a plumber in the morning) or the overflowing sump pump (the pipe was blocked somehow and he had to talk my son through how to unplug it, and then when the unplugging procedure broke the connection altogether, my son had to learn how to fix it and put it back together).
It’s hard being married to a trucker, and it’s hard to send him away every week. He always comes back home, though, and that makes all the goodbyes and all the tears worth it. Now that we spend more time apart than we do together, I think that our marriage is even better than before. We’ve discovered how much we love each other, and we appreciate each other more. We don’t take each other for granted.
Looking forward to seeing him again at the end of each week is what keeps me sane and what keeps me going. Yes, his leaving will always be my least favorite part of the week, but his holding me close again is always the best part.