There are a lot of things I take for granted in my life. I know, shock, right? It’s true. I rarely think about how great it is that I can blink until I get something in my eye that hurts. Suddenly then I’m aware of how things aren’t suppose to be and I have a moment of joy that most of the time my blinking just comes au natural. Hot water is another one. It never fails, day in and day out I just assume that it will be there. There are a lot more. My body parts. I never wake up and frantically check that my baby toe is still attached. My children. I just expect them to be snuggled in their beds when I go to wake them in the morning. Food in the fridge. Lights that click on when I clap my hands (kidding!!), toilets that flush, knees that bend, and that my vehicle will be in my driveway when I go to work each morning.
So I get that when these things fail, when there’s no hot water, when the plumbing fails, when the power goes out or if someone were to steal my truck I get that those things make us look back on every time these things simply were there and be so happy for them. I fully get that through trials we learn, grow and come to appreciate all that we have. I do. Believe me!
But I’ll be the first to admit that I am a huge fan of boring. When there’s nothing major to proclaim and no great tale to tell I am a happy camper. It means that things were as they should be. Nobody was rushed to the ER and there was no rain leaking in through the roof. There was no theft, no shock, really nothing exciting at all. It makes me the happiest camper on the block.
This week, however, I was not the happiest camper on the block because a something that was just suppose to be there as normal, wasn’t. No, my baby toe didn’t fall off but my husband whose VW sound I hear from over a block away each night at 7:13 (give or take), who arrives home from work every single day, this normal, this expected, well, this didn’t happen. The driving conditions around these parts have been less than stellar. Couple this with over an hour commute each night plus those drivers who think their cars can make it no problem and we made the joint decision that he should probably not come home this week and just stay in the city.
I know this decision was a good one. It was wise and responsible. But that whole, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ thing that you may have heard a time or two? Nonsense. Rubbish. Purely wrong.
See, my heart was already fond enough. There was no space for growing fonder because it was bubbling over with fondness already. Did I mention, I’m quite fond of him? Yeah. I am.
My heart quickens just a touch each time I hear his car pull in the driveway. A grin comes over my lips when he walks in the door and I see him carrying faceplate and travel mug and the Ben Sherman bag that I bought him years ago. There’s a feeling of joy when I see how the kids faces light up when he walks in the room and I sit back and listen as they unload their days events on him all the while he’s unloading his things and heading towards the fridge. He’s not ignoring them, no, not at all. This is the routine and they just follow right close behind him nattering on and he fills in the gaps with, “really? that’s so cool,” as he fills his plate. Then he starts to fire back questions about whether they got his email and did they see the youtube video he sent them that day. For there is nearly one per day. Once he’s heard all of the days tales and his dinner is reheated come the questions from them. “Dad, can you…..” Fill in the blank. It’s always something they need from him, a role that I have been unable to fulfill. Listen to me play The Scientist on the piano, put more sermons on my iPod, help me tighten up the trucks on my skateboard or change the light bulb in my room. This is where I speak up nearly every. single. night.
“Boys,” I say, in my most motherly tone, “Give daddy time. He’s just gotten home from working all day and he’s hungry. Can we wait a few minutes and let him breathe a bit?”
And once he’s fulfilled all of their requests he meets them up in the little’s bedroom. “Can we do bible, dad?” I hear and I smile. When has he ever not done bible? For he does it every night and yet still they ask because they love it so much. I don’t join in. I putter upstairs and listen. This daddy time is what they need, what they crave, what they wait all day long for.
I wait for him in anticipation. For my turn with him in the precious little time we have together each evening. He walks in slightly dazed after praying with the boys and becoming so rested and relaxed on their floor. My turn. I love my turn. “How was your day?” He asks and I’m happy to report the details that are mostly the same as the day before. I ask him the same and I get a run down on his shots. Or the inside scoop on some of the antics from the characters he works alongside. I shake my head and my heart is happy for he loves his co-workers even though they operate so differently than we do. They are his friends, comrades, sharers of his day and quite often make for good stories.
Then my favorite part. The part where I know that all is as it should be. That my world is right and good. He crawls into bed beside me, grabs hold of my hand and prays me asleep. This is my perfect. My safe place. My stability. My home. My love.
So my heart has not grown fonder in his absence for it was already bursting with fondness. This is not one of those things where you aren’t thankful until things are different or wrong, I am thankful for him every day. We miss him. We miss these daily routines. We miss his presence. We miss hearing his stories. We miss hearing him pray for us. This place is not the same without him and we anxiously await his return tonight so we can get back to normal. And uneventful. And exactly as we should be.