When you’re gone

I know I just blogged, but you’re gone. And that equals no adult to talk to at home. And that equals me not getting all my daily words out. And that equals too much to say and no one to say it to.

And so I blog again.

It’s just that when you’re not here, I don’t know what to do when one of the kids clogs the toilet with way too much TP so that it won’t even plunge. Yes, again. (Other toilet. Same kid.) Despite me plunging it 27 times to no avail, you were able to fix it last time. I don’t know your secret. Dish soap still doesn’t work for me.

And when you’re not here, I can’t get into the closet with the latch that locks that a certain (other) child shut while I was getting ready this morning. Thankfully, they weren’t in it this time. And thankfully, I was already dressed and didn’t need to get anything out of there. But tomorrow I will. You’d think there’d be at least an outfit or two in all the clothes on the floor, chair, and your side of the bed so that I could put together something, but you’d be wrong.

And even if there were something, it would likely be dirty. And my only drawers outside the closet are: PJs, sweats, undies/socks. At least I’ll be wearing clean underwear while I dress in a pajama top with yoga pants at work tomorrow. Or maybe I could call the fire department to come bust the door in with an axe. Do we own an axe? Because maybe I should just do it myself.

If you were here, I could just ask you that in person. Except I wouldn’t need to, because you would have gotten the closet door open by now. I just don’t know your trick.

In any case, since all the laundry bins are in the closet, nothing is getting washed. So really, I’m not in that much of a hurry. Except to have you home, of course.

Because when you’re home, we can get the mail. I don’t know when I last did that. You’re just always home – and so is the mail – by the time we walk in. So today, when I realized it was maybe something I should do, I couldn’t even find the keys to get it. Where do we keep the keys to the mailbox? This is something I should know.

It’s just that I’ve never had reason to think about it until I did today, right after I watched the garbage truck drive by and realized I maybe should have put the can out. But no worries, because I checked: The can was empty. It turns out all the garbage was still in the house. No one has emptied them since you’ve been gone. Well, I did empty them. But you know how I always set them aside and continue on with what I’m doing? The magic trash fairy never came by to take the bags to the outside garbage. Maybe she’s in New York with you.

So, I took them out myself. But now the outside can is pretty full and pick up day is another week away. Can you tell I need you home?

And also? The housecleaning. Well, you know how I already feel about that. You remember my definition of adulthood: Cleaning the kitchen even when no one else is around to see it. Going to bed at a reasonable hour when you have early morning responsibilities. NOT eating ice cream every day even though you can drive yourself to the store and have your very own money to buy it.

I’m proud to say that yesterday, I did get the kitchen and dining room clean. 67 minutes of tidying, and the job was done. Mopping to come later. And toys and books and shoes that were dumped in the living room to be put away later. But still, those rooms are pretty tidy now. And it only took 67 minutes.

It’s just that those rooms don’t match the rest of the house anymore.

And so, I decided I needed to put a little more effort into this adulthood thing. I didn’t eat ice cream today. Oops. I went to bed at a reasonable hour last night. Oops. I did make a dinner. A good, sit down, semi-healthy dinner. The kind I try to make when you’re here. Instead of cereal, I mean. (Did I tell you the kids have had cereal for more meals than I care to admit and one day we had smoothies for lunch? Only not fresh berry/green smoothies like I’ve made before. Sugary smoothies from Woods. With whip cream. And it actually wasn’t one day. It was two days. Sorry.)

But I did it tonight. A decent meal at the table. It was weird without you. And the problem is, I just don’t know how long is a reasonable amount of time to make the boy sit there and stare at his food before I let him get up having not eaten a thing. And I have no one here to discuss that with. And also? How many meals should I put that same meal in front of him before I finally throw it out? Because baked tilapia and corn and parmesan toast isn’t great re-heated over and over, you know. I like having your input on these things.

And yes, I know what you’d say about the tilapia. You don’t like it either. But the corn? He even got to pick the vegetable for dinner. He chose corn. Parenting 3-year-olds is hard all alone. They make no sense.

And the ironic thing about being a grown-up and making a good healthy dinner is this: it messes up that kitchen and dining room. Real bad. At least they match the rest of the house again.

And about that laundry? I thought maybe I should get some done. And since I can’t get to the laundry bins inside that locked closet, I washed the sheets. Yay for adult-like productivity! Only know what? It’s past bedtime now (darn you, adulthood), and our sheets are still in the dryer instead of on the bed. But why bother rushing to get them on the bed when I’m just going there alone? I might as well just sleep in the living room on the couch. I’ll have to turn the air conditioner off in there, though, because it sounds a bit like an injured cow. I’m just not sure what to do about that. You probably wouldn’t know, either, but at least we’d be not sure together.

I hope you don’t think I’m whining. Because really, I’ve had enough of that this past week. (Week? Wait. You’ve only been gone 4 days. It just seems like it’s been a week.)

How can – in just 4 days – the kids miss you more than they can express in words, but it comes out in their every behavior?

That’s really a rhetorical question, because you know what? It comes out in my behavior, too. It’s clear: We need Daddy!

But no, not whining. Please don’t think that. Just missing you bad.

And the truth is, we don’t want you to come home early. Because you’re doing important work. We’re so proud of you all, and we’re praying for you and the work you’re all doing.

And for those few minutes I did get to talk to you? My eyes filled with tears as you told me about that man who’s house some of you worked on. It’s hard to imagine losing so much and living with uncertainty for so long. I’m so thankful the team was able to help him.

And my eyes filled again, when you told me about the other man you’re all helping with a surprise tomorrow. How he just sat there while you all worked, near you all for so long after you all prayed with him. I think he might have just been overwhelmed, maybe, by the generosity of people serving. Or maybe? He just wants a glimpse of Jesus. I know that if I ever felt like I had a glimpse of him, I wouldn’t want to leave either. I might just sit there all day long to get one more glimpse. Maybe, just maybe, he saw something in all of you that caused him to stay and watch. In the midst of his poor and desperate circumstances, he could see the hands of Jesus at work and felt a little bit at peace. Maybe he just wanted to witness that a little longer. And to just be near.

So no, not whining. Because how could I when we are so blessed? When we have a place to live with dry walls and floor? A way to get from place to place? A life filled with people who love us and care for us? A Jesus who still loves when the kids whine and fight and argue and sass, and I am so incredibly unlovable.

Not whining. Just missing you. Bad. And noticing all you do when you’re here.

And also? Just a wee-bit sad we won’t see you on your birthday. But I know you’re right where you should be. In the palm of His hands is a good place to be.

So, Happy Birthday (tomorrow). I love you so bad.

And don’t worry about us. I think we can make it until Friday.

4 thoughts on “When you’re gone

  1. So sweet, Holly! Actually made me a bit teary because I feel the same way when Ben is gone. But I had to laugh when I saw the time you posted this. Oh, we are too alike when our hubbies are gone! And you are doing a good job on your own. Garbage in the big garbage can is truly just a bonus. šŸ˜‰ You rock, and you’re doing God’s work too, you know. Actually it’s a two-in-one. Supporting your husband’s service AND caring for your kids. Keep it up! I’m so proud to call you my friend. Just a couple more days! šŸ™‚

    • Elissa, I totally thought of you when I wrote that! I just don’t know how you always do it when Ben is gone on business! And with FIVE kids! I’d be sunk for sure.
      Thanks for the reminder that I’m doing God’s work, too. Some days, it just feels like a success that we all survived another day.

      And I am SO proud to call you my friend, too! šŸ™‚

  2. Ok…I am glad I can type when I can’t see!
    You can call for things like that…like the door not being able to be opened (so you can have the laundry done when Matt gets home)…or the toilet not working…CALL US! We aren’t that far away you know.
    You are so right about no whining…there is no way we can whine and feel good about it. We do have so much…we are SOOOO blessed. I remember all the days when BT was away from home when he started the patrol. By Friday I/we were a mess…then when he worked 56 day turn around on nights (4 -10’s) I could tell!! I could just tell where we were and how many days we had left on the schedule. We were all (all 4 of us) at our whits end. There is a reason God made family the way HE did. It is to give us helpmates, someone to talk to, someone to cry with, someone to share everything with, someone to become more like Jesus with. Soon and very soon you will see in person your “Knight in shining armor” again and all things will be well. Everyone will be richer for the journey you have walked this week and as I found out…all those things that my sweetie did when he was at home that I really never thought about…will fall back into place, but we will see them differently…we see them as gifts to us. ā¤
    Love you sweet girl!

    • You are so right, Michele. God’s design works really well.
      I just posted a HELP message on facebook about the closet. I may take you guys up on that offer. (Toilet unclogged.) But really, I’d like to get in my closet tonight or tomorrow. Clean clothes are a good thing. šŸ™‚

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