Saturday, February 23, 2013


Frankly, I'm disappointed.

I rather expected the news that Jason will be spending the next six months in New York to provoke more of a reaction. The announcement of a new baby is big, but hey, we've all known it's coming for quite some time. A six-month separation from my hubby, however, is not just unexpected--it's colossal! (Calamitous and catastrophic also come to mind.) Condolences from the President himself wouldn't seem too out of order.

(By the way, I hope everyone catches the tongue in my cheek. If this post provokes a slew of pitiful comments, I'll feel really embarrassed...)

Seriously though, by this time next week Jason will be starting a new job on the eleventh floor of a New York City high rise and the kids and I will be on our own. In truth, I'm terrified. I haven't put all four kids to bed even once, let alone for months on end. Every meal, every spill, every diaper, every midnight waking--all my responsibility. No one to shuttle Brooklyn to piano, pick up eggs on the way home, or swaddle the fussy baby. No one to watch the fort while I shower, send me for a run I get cranky, or hold me when I cry. (Gosh, I better stop or the tears will start too soon.)

I keep reminding myself that it could be much worse. I have so much respect for the military wives who send their husbands overseas. Some say New York is dangerous (when compared to St. George), but I'm glad it's not Afghanistan. Think about all of the courageous pioneer women who scraped a living out of the earth while their husbands were away. And then there is the reality I never want to think about--those who have lost their husbands for this lifetime.

As much as I admire the valor and resourcefulness of these women, I never wanted to be them. It's no secret that I rely on my husband completely. In matters small and large we work as a team, all the way from scrubbing dishes to birthing babies. Ironic, I know, since I used to be dauntlessly independent before marriage. Never afraid to do things alone, I seized every opportunity, whether traveling overseas or simply going to the theater. While not opposed to the idea of marriage, I never doted on it like some girls. To the contrary, I worried that it might impede my freedom.

The past decade with Jason has transformed me. Our partnership has become so engrained into my sense of identity that I often speak in terms of "we," even when Jason is not around. Hardly a decision is made without my considering his wishes. Yet instead of feeling restrictive, this connection is liberating: no matter what happens, I know he is likewise thinking of me. As a team, it feels like we can do anything. Rob me of my better half, and I feel broken.

With Jason leaving, I find myself feeling timid and vulnerable. Raising four small children on my own--this is the trial I never wanted. The challenge feels too great--physically, spiritually, and above all, emotionally. Leave that for the strong women--I was happy being weak, even needy. After all, who wouldn't want to need a guy as great as mine? In the past, I've whined and moped when Jason left town for a few days. Suddenly life flips upside down and a weekend together becomes a cherished treat.

Last night I had a terrible time focusing at a planning meeting for Primary (children's Sunday school). An activity in April? Doesn't the world come grinding to a halt on Thursday? No, the Lord is teaching me that whether my husband is here or in New York, life goes on.

I can be strong. I'll have to be--for myself, for the kids, for Jason. These next six months will most certainly be a tutorial in regaining independence. The kids will be surprised to discover that Dad isn't the only one who can change a light bulb or mow the lawn. Perhaps I will surprise myself with strength born not out of desire, but out of necessity. And when Jason and I are reunited again, I pray our marriage will be stronger than ever for having the courage to persevere while apart.

At least that's what I hope...frankly.


Kristin said...

Holy cow--I am so sorry! My husband travels a lot, so I am an expert at feeling sorry for myself, and I am deeply shuddering for you. (And congratulations on the baby.)

Mandi said...

You will make it! Us wives with attorneys as husbands basically do the same sometimes. You take it one day at a time and it just happens! I've felt spoiled having Arnold around again since switching from big firm life. I've quickly become completely and utterly spoiled by it all until he leaves on a trip for a week and I just remember I did it basically all on my own for 5 years and I can do it again. It does make you grateful and cherish the moments you do have together a lot more! Good Luck and I know you'll make it! Even the REALLY awful days do end... :)

Erin said...

You will surprise yourself at how well you do, once the initial adjustment is made. Not to say that it won't be hard, but you will do it and you will succeed! And we'll keep you in our prayers, too.

Susie said...

Our hearts and prayers are with you both AND we are willing to help in any way we can :)

Julie L said...

Hooray you are not a Pioneer. You can call Jason every single day, even skype him so the kids and you can see each other face to face. I know it's not the same as actually being face-to-face, but in today's world, NYC is not as far and six months is not forever.

I have watched you. You are definitely a very strong woman. I have been impressed by your resourcefulness, by your attitude in the face of challenges, by your personal faith and testimony of who you are. I know those attributes will bless you as you face this next challenge. Don't be afraid to bundle all the kids in the car and go for a long, long drive if it gets to be too much. Either drive north to the Wheeler's or east to your family, or even way east to Jason - that should only take a month of the six. Hahaha.

Seriously, you are in our prayers. May God bless you and Jason with courage and strength to turn this challenge into a rewarding adventure. Looking forward to hearing about all those great experiences heading your way, and good luck with the job, Jason. NYC is definitely an interesting city.

Anonymous said...

As an "anonymous" commentator(?), I'll also be frank. First, although I love your blog, I seriously doubt President Obama read your blog post. So, even though presidential condolences do not "seem too out of order" in your mind, brace yourself. A presidential response would likely align with Rhett Butler's classic last words to Scarlett O'Hara, "Frankly, my dear I don't give ... [condolences ... or, words to that effect]."

Second, it is very obvious that you are surrounded by good and loving people (both nearby and far off) who care deeply about you and your family and who will be honored to help in any way possible. I also know you are very strong, sensible, and resourceful. I have full confidence that you will succeed in accomplishing all that really matters while Jason is away. Think too of his superman sized six month challenge: thoroughly cleaning up superstorm Sandy's aftermath and solving NYC's affordable housing problems. Frankly, I think you BOTH have quite an adventure ahead! Keep smiling!

Erin Gibbons said...

I did read this the other day, but I think I thought "maybe if I don't think about it, it won't be true!" I didn't want to just leave a quick "sorry about that" comment and wanted to think about something heartfelt I could say when I wasn't being bombarded by the kids. I feel so bad for you guys to have to be apart! I would feel just the same way you described, and I definitely mope around when Shea has to leave for a few days. But, I agree with your other friends and family, you will be great at it, and six months will fly by! And, having lived in NYC, even for just a few months, I feel like its home and its not as big and scary as one would think. (Though I dreaded moving there leading up to the move!) I have no doubt that you and Jason will do a great job, and although there are always days that are just hard to get through, I'm sure you will be deserving of some extra blessings! (And if you do decide to pack up and drive all the way east, let me know and I could potentially be of some help! People there sublet their apartments for a week or a month all the time, so it's not completely insane-it would probably even be fun!)

Our Family said...

You will do absoulutly fabulous. It does make for long days and nights but is totally doable. You have great helpers with your sweet children. Enlist them to come up with fun things you wouldn't normally do. When Derrek was in Iraq we tried to do something different once in a while. I called them surprise days and the children had to earn the right to go. It was great fun. I got the idea from the Ensign.

The Favorite said...

I think you should come out here and stay a long time with us. Then you'd only be 7 hours away from him :)
You amaze me!!