You wonderful, bearded Ogre,
Usually you don’t travel for work, but you’ve been gone for a whole week twice this month. Last time my mom was here, and we missed you but we were too busy for it to sink in. This week it’s just us.
Last night I rocked the baby to sleep, and when he was finally down I realized that you weren’t around to turn on the tea kettle and pour my tea for me, so I would have to do it myself instead of just taking my mug and curling up with a book. It was late, though, so I skipped the tea.
I woke up at 2 am and realized that I hadn’t checked to make sure the garage light was off, so I got up to do it. I slammed my knee into the desk and ran into a wall because I had forgotten to turn the small light in the kitchen on, since you always do it.
This morning I stumbled to the sink and found my water cup and a few random spoons at the bottom, and the dishwasher loaded but still dirty. Every night, you load those last few dishes and start the dishwasher, because you know how much I hate waking up to a dirty kitchen.
This morning it was raining and Sienna was running late for school. I was still in my pajamas and the baby was still sleeping. Usually you walk her to school, but today she had to rush out the door in the rain and try to catch a ride with the neighbor. I felt so helpless, watching her run out into the rain, and like such a bum for oversleeping and not being able to drive her. You would have walked straight out the door in your sweats without a second thought, even if it meant dragging a sleeping baby and two preschoolers through the rain to the car.
I took the empty milk carton to the recycling bin this afternoon and realized that the bin in our garage was overflowing, since you always take the bins out on Wednesday morning for me. But you were gone, and I forgot.
You left one pair of jeans crumpled on the floor, in the same place you always leave your clothes. I’ve spent countless hours complaining about your inability to put clothes in the hamper, and countless more sighing heavily as I move your pile of clothes to the hamper, staggering dramatically under the weight of them. I picked up the house this morning but left the jeans, because it feels more like you’re here that way.
I complain sometimes, sometimes a lot, about how you could help me more around the house when you’re home. But honestly, I don’t really need more help around the house. I just like to complain. What I really miss when you’re gone isn’t the way you sweep the kitchen at night or brush the kids’ teeth or make sure I have an extra half-hour to work out or finish a blog post, although I definitely appreciate those things. But what I really miss are the little things you do that I never even notice, like making my tea for me, or staying up an extra 10 minutes to finish the dishes. You’re always thinking of me, which makes two of us.
When you’re not here, life doesn’t just go on as usual with a little more work for me. It’s like our life is defined by a negative, by your absence. Everything seems lackluster and rote, and I find myself trying to figure out ways to fill up our hours until you come home. Even though it probably doesn’t seem like it when you’re here, you’re the center of our lives. You’re the reason I wash my hair and put on makeup, the reason I make nice dinners and set the table and make sure the house is picked up. When you’re not here, it kind of seems pointless.
I can’t promise that I’ll suddenly stop getting irritated when you leave your crap all over the bar or that I’ll stop sighing heavily when I move your clothes to the laundry hamper, because I’m me, you know, and this is reality. But I want you to know, at least, that I really appreciate the tea.