I want to preface this post by saying that after last week, I have a lot more respect for military wives and anyone in a long distance marriage/relationship. And my heart aches for anyone who may have lost their spouse to death or divorce. I had respect for all of you before, but that respect has grown immensely!!
When Joe and I were dating, we'd sometimes go up to a day and a half without seeing each other and in the four years that we've been married, there have been times when we've gone 48 hours without seeing each other. Although our time apart in the past hasn't been extensive, it made me appreciate the time that we had to spend together. The phrase "absence makes the heart grow fonder" has always been something that I've said to myself, but it didn't have as much meaning for me until Joe went away to scout camp for five days and had extremely limited contact. I probably still don't understand how much meaning that phrase can have, but to be honest, I hope I never do.
From the moment our church leaders called Joe to be the scoutmaster, just a few days after Bensen was born, I was dreading this trip, And from the moment Joe kissed me goodbye and walked out into the rain to load last minute gear into the trailer, I couldn't wait for it to be over. They left Monday morning as I was leaving for work and got home just a little bit before noon that following Saturday. It was one of the most emotional, productive, rewarding, and tiring weeks of my married life. For the first two days, I cried any time I thought about Joe or when something happened that I wanted to tell him about. On Wednesday when he found out that he could use the scout desk phone and called me, I was giddy as a school girl and our five minute conversation was all that I could think about for the rest of the day. By Thursday I realized that it wasn't as difficult as I'd thought it was going to be and I was feeling proud of everything I was getting accomplished after Bensen went to bed every night. Saturday morning found me tidying up the house, getting all dolled up for his homecoming and rushing to the window with Howie any time we heard a car to see if our best friend was home. I missed him immensely and am not looking forward to being apart like that again, but I know that I'll handle it a little bit better the next time around.
Having Joe gone made me grateful! I was grateful to my in-laws who offered their company, invited me to dinner and sent my niece over to help me with my mom duties a couple of nights during the week. I was grateful to my mom who always wanted to feed me and let me know that she was there if I ever needed to talk while my husband wasn't home. I was grateful to neighbors and ward friends who went on walks with me, waved and asked how I was doing when they saw me out and about, and let me know they were there and understood just how "fun" it was to be married to the scoutmaster. I was grateful to other friends and family who checked in to see how I was surviving and were willing to listen to me whine about how it was "the worst week ever". And I was grateful for Joe! I was grateful for his willingness to serve the boys in our area, his thought to call me when he knew he had the chance, and I was grateful for all of his quirks that irritate me on a daily basis because I missed them while he was away.
My heart grew fonder of Joe while he was away. We weren't spending time together daily, communicating and working on our relationship, but my appreciation and love for him still grew stronger. I missed the way he tries to charm his way out of every sticky situation he gets himself into with me. I missed his witty and sarcastic comments that always make me laugh hysterically. I missed having that someone to text the random, dumb little moments of my day too. But most of all I missed having my best friend, lover and partner in crime around. The best part of his coming home on Saturday was the hour that we spent cuddled up together, sharing moments from our week and laughing together after the baby went down for his nap. It was just like we used to do every night when we got together while we were dating. I'll hope and pretend that we'll never have to spend more than a day apart again, but when it happens, I look forward to feeling those same feelings I felt last week all over again and being reminded of just how much I love having that man in my life!