When my twins were infants I would be paralyzed by fear when he was out of town. It was so hard for me to make it through the day knowing that no one was coming home to give me a break at the end of the day. I had elaborate routines for bathing, feeding and rocking my two infants to sleep. When they woke up in the middle of the night, both crying, I would sometimes call him in his hotel room just so he could hear what he was missing. But mostly I would call so I could yell some not so nice things into the phone.
Over the years I've done plenty of bitching about his travels and the strain it puts on me and the kids. He's missed teacher conferences, I've had to flake on my book club and it's not like we're taking fancy vacations with all the miles he has racked up like we did before the kids came along. The reality is that he loves his job and he's good at it. His job allows me to be at home with our kids, it gives us good health insurance, cute shoes on our kids feet and a house that we love that is walking distance to an award winning public school (something very rare in the SF Bay Area). For all that I am grateful. So you can call me a whiner, but don't ever call me an ungrateful whiner.*
Now that Lolly and Frostine are in school and Gloppy spends one night a week with my in-laws, Mr. Mint's trips, while still annoying, are not the huge source of anxiety they once were for me. I have my routine with the kids. I get at least an hour or so to myself during the day. The kids can occasionally entertain themselves for a short time and are old enough for drop off playdates. I eat healthier since I don't eat two dinners, one with the kids and one around 8pm with Mr. Mint after the kids are in bed. No one is around to ask me "why do you watch this crap on TV?" I get the whole bed to myself and I don't get woken up by any snoring. I've come to accept that his trips are part of our life and I need to deal with it the best I can.
But lately when he's been gone I've been paralyzed by a different kind of fear. The fear of rapists and murderers. Our house is big and echoey when all the kids are in bed and I'm downstairs by myself. There are a lot of windows with what I consider not very secure window locks. You can't see our house from the street and it would be easy for someone sinister to walk up our driveway and peer into our windows without any of our neighbors noticing. Then I watch shows like Dateline and Primetime Crime and my mind starts messing with me. I start picturing that hunky, witty Chris Hansen narrating the story of my demise. He'd talk about how my kids slept through all the horror and they'd probably show this photo since it's the only one I have of me with all three of my kids.
My sister would talk about how happy we were on that vacation and how she will never let my kids forget their mother. Then they'd show this photo while Chris interviewed my grieving husband and Mr. Mint talked about what an amazing mother I was and how my kids are in therapy.
I get stuck on the couch because I'm too afraid to turn the lights off and walk upstairs. Then once I do finally make it upstairs, I stay up way too late reading because I'm afraid to turn my bedside lamp off. I'm sure the murderer is watching my bedroom window waiting for me to turn the light off and fall asleep so he can attack.
So all you bad and evil people out there I want you to know that I sleep with this next to my bed.
See that blue button? That's the "panic" button and it will bring the police straight to my house. It only takes about 2 minutes for them to get here. I know this because Gloppy pressed it once while playing with my keys. There were two big, strapping policemen with hands on their weapons coming up my driveway in what felt like milliseconds. So if you're thinking of targeting my house and my family, move right along. I've got a panic button.
*Wow. How's that for a paragraph full of run on sentences. Do they give blogger awards for the most run on sentences in a post, because I think I might have a shot.