I quickly gather the assortment of clothes strewn across the floor in a way only little children are capable of, as they shed each piece one at a time on the way to the tub. I can hear the giggles and laughter rising from the other room. I smile as I hear the shrieks of joy coming from the girls playing with their dad. I sigh and continue my nightly, somewhat futile routine of setting the house back to livable conditions.
There is a tinge of jealously, yes. I daydream about how fun it must be to come home from a long trip, scoop them up and spend the next few hours listening to their stories and tickling their cute little bellies. I hear them screech my name to settle an argument… yes I’m the rule enforcer, too. Sigh.
There is a special balance that makes parenting work when a spouse’s job requires them to travel. It is a trade-off surely… I’m the do-your-homework-now, pick-up-your-socks, stop fighting parent – while he’s the let’s-play, tell-jokes and have-another-cookie parent. Yet, I’m also the booboo-kissing, never go a day without their hugs & kisses parent. I sleep in my own bed each night and eat my own food where as he sleeps in often uncomfortable beds in too-hot or too-cold hotel rooms and eats food on the road, the glamour of it all is an illusion.
I know that we both make sacrifices for our family and while I am the oil that keeps this machine running smoothly, he’s the cogs and gears and I couldn’t do it without him. But sometimes it might be nice to have the luxury of laughter. I look at the pile of crap kid stuff in my hands and decide I can tackle that in five minutes. I head in to join the fun and grab a few giggles for myself.
*Photo Credit: Linda Severson Photography