When Daddy's away, Mama takes a 20 minutes car ride into town for overpriced lattes all too often.
And when Daddy's away, the eggs don't get collected for days on end because it's never the most pressing task at hand.
When Daddy's away, Mama texts him “S.O.S.” too many times in a 24 hour span.
And when Daddy's away, Mama has to watch stand up comedians at night to break the deafening quietness (plus the iPad eventually heats up his side of the bed which serves as a pseudo-bed-warmer).
When Daddy's away, Mama struggles. I know, sorry all you independent women, but it's true. But the Good Lord has designed me for companionship (specifically, that of my Tolkien-loving, beard-wearing, sheep-wrangling, beer-sippin' husband).
Those of you who follow us on Facebook may remember that last week, Stuart's Granddaddy passed on to Glory after a battle with colon cancer. And, Praise God, Stuart was able to head down to Georgia for the service. But while he's away with his family down South, his other family remains in Washington – tending to the farm and the rascals.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry when he left. I totally did. Through quivering lips I wished him well on his journey and smiled through the tears that involuntarily dripped down my face. I'm, like, so strong. And as I watched him drive down the gravel road, waving goodbye out of the car window before he slipped out of view, I may or may not have had a sadness seizure.
Not because I can't do it without him.
But because I don't want to.
Remember now, I'm not one of those wives who tolerates her husband. I'm one of those wives who truly believes she married the most wonderful person in the world.
I suppose it's good to be reminded of that fact – after all, there are plenty of days when I curse his shoes that are constantly left in front of the door. And there are times when an hour of alone time does a Mama (and wife) good, no doubt. He, without fail, chooses to shave his beard the day I clean the bathroom sink and six inches away from the dirty clothes hamper is where he chooses to leave his. Yes, there are days when the soup flies, my friends.
And yet still, as his absence is felt hour upon hour, I find myself missing that which is his. I didn't have to make his side of the bed this morning. I only cooked three eggs instead of the normal six. Heck – I even found myself missing sharing the French Press of coffee with him this morning (which is always a point of contention).
And then… I realized something. Many days, I've found myself cooking or cleaning and feeling selfish for doing so. After all, he's told me plenty of times he doesn't mind if the house isn't perfectly straightened when he comes home or if we have oatmeal for supper – and yet I find myself straightening up before he comes home from work and (most of the time) striving to put a hot meal on the table for us to enjoy. But why? And in his absence, it dawned on me: I do these things because serving him in this way is my joy.
Stuart is not the type of man who sets demands.
“Have a hot supper on table at 5:45 sharp woman, or else…” Oh no, not my man.
Rather, Stuart is the type of man who faithfully and consistently is serving his family. Reading books for the 16,294 time. Changing poppy diapers. Giving baths. Brushing tangles out of Georgia's hair. Milking the family cow. Making the morning pot of coffee. Jumping in to help with dishes. Always complimenting a home-cooked meal. Tending to his (sometimes) extremely emotional wife. He listens. He comforts. He works hard. He is the type of man that it is a pleasure to serve.
And that service is only fun when he's here, dang it.
Cooking a hot breakfast isn't as fun when he's not here to appreciate it. And folding laundry isn't nearly as exciting as when he's getting dressed in the morning, thankful for a closet full of clean and folded clothes. Even vacuuming has lost it's sparkle – because trust me, none of my three hood rats care if the floor is vacuumed.
Do I still do these tasks in his absence? Of course. I do have the motley crew to care for, after all.
But it makes me thankful.
Thankful that 99% of our days are spent side by side. And thankful that in all our daily tasks, we have each other to care for.
Stu, please come home so that I can kiss you and hug you and pick up your dirty clothes and cook you breakfast. I'll have a fresh pot of coffee waiting.