Monday, May 16, 2011

Preparing...

So, Craig's trip is just a few days away.  I'm still nervous about how those 10 days are going to play out, and generally anxious about this week in general since I'm sure there are going to be a lot of things that come up while Craig is packing and I realize that I'm going to be short on alone time/backup for the next couple weeks.  Needless to say, I don't think we're going to have a lot of relaxing quality time before he leaves on Thursday for his pre-Prague stop in Hamilton.  I tried to accomplish some of that last night with our little movie night, but Jacob managed to mess that up pretty handily.

Craig and I haven't been apart for this long since we've been together.  I went on a trip shortly before we got engaged that lasted nearly as long--probably from the start of one weekend to the end of another--but that was still early on in our relationship and I couldn't wait to see him by the end.  I love the two friends that I was on the trip with, and we had a blast.  But after over a week on the road with them--in a car to Hershey, Philly, and the Jersey Shore--as the only coupled girl after years of being a single trio, I was definitely ready to come home.  I vividly remember my desperation in that last stretch of Thruway to get back and see him.  But that was nine years ago and obviously a lot has happened since then.  I'm used to him being gone for a few days at a time, and while I still worry, it's gotten to be pretty routine.  We're out of the honeymoon phase, for sure (but not in a bad way), so I'd say that my emotions surrounding his trips are much more even-keel.  While part of me misses him a ton, there isn't really that puppy-dog-ish, all-encompassing need to be with him 24/7.  I love him, miss him, and want him to be safe, but I'm secure enough in my little world that I know a little solo time isn't the worst thing in the world.  I try to enjoy it while I can, talk to him on the phone, and keep myself busy.  Once in a while he has a longer road trip, maybe five days or so, and those are tougher...but probably moreso because of the single parent factor.  If there was no Jacob, I'd be bored but fine.  I'd find ways to fill the time--work out, shop, sleep, clean, visit my parents--but Jacob makes things simultaneously easier and harder.  While he provides some good company (most of the time) and keeps my days fuller, there just isn't the backup in case anything goes wrong--mentally, emotionally, or physically.  When everything's on you, it just makes things harder.  It's nothing we haven't done before, just a longer span of time in which we're doing it. 

European travel scares me significantly more than most of Craig's roadtrips.  Not only is it a longer flight, but it's perhaps a slightly less regulated country, and there's just a lot more stuff that could go wrong.  He's not going to have a heck of a lot of time to explore or go out, which leaves a few less opportunities for problems, but it's still a scary, lack-of-control thing.  Could he end up as the naive American that gets taken advantage of?  Or will some rogue cab driver drive like a maniac and crash?  Yes, I know, the chances are slim, but as a wife and a parent you inevitably go over all of the scenarios in your head.  It's the same reason that I'd hesitate to go even if all of the funding to pay for my flight magically showed up.  Could I risk leaving Jacob, even for a few days, with both parents on the other side of the ocean?  I had a friend who never went on vacation without his kids, and insisted that if he did, he and his wife would fly separate in case of a plane crash.  While I thought that seemed a little extreme, I do sort of get it more now.  I don't think we can live in fear like that, but I think it's normal for something like this to give you pause.  I'd hate to make a selfish decision that negatively impacted Jacob, particularly on such a massive scale.  We also don't have a will or a chosen guardian (we've never come to a consensus...ugh), so that's even more nerve-wracking. 

With Jacob's trying behavior lately, I am worried about my patience holding out.  He knows how to push buttons so well, and sometimes he truly brings out the worst in me.  I wonder how I'll manage when he's at his worst--short of locking him in his room and leaving him for a while.  When you have a partner that you're working with, one can go off and be angry while the other can keep cool and make sure the kid is properly disciplined and/or loved.  When you're alone, you have to find a balance and do both roles.  My plan is to convince Jacob, ever the sports fan, that we need to be a team.  We need to work together to make sure we have fun while Craig is gone.  I need him to listen to me, and I need to listen to him, too.  I can't be a dictator, because I need to keep in mind that Jacob needs lots of love, too.  Craig tends to be the good cop more often (for better or worse--too often for my taste, admittedly), and I need to keep in mind that his open arms won't be here for Jacob when I'm done yelling at him.  So, if he's not here to give Jacob a hug when it's all said and done, I need to be intentional about making sure it does happen...not to the detriment of the lesson I'm trying to teach, but before he's left feeling unloved and responds negatively. 

I worry about being tired and how it will impact my attitude when there's no one to give me a break.  I worry about being the only one if he wakes up in the middle of the night, the only one convincing him to eat, the only one around to pick him up and drop him off.  I wonder how I can spend enough time with him when I'm already busy trying to cook or clean up, and or how I can make sure that he knows his daddy loves him even if he's not here.  I want to do special things to pass the time, but not spoil him or do too many things that Craig will feel he missed out on. Hopefully a "to do list" post will be coming soon.

It's definitely going to be an interesting couple weeks. 

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