Monday, October 28, 2013

Unaccompanied Tours - What Nobody Tells You

I have a lot of blogger friends: people I've never even met in real life, but to whom I'm closer in some ways than I am to some of my real world friends.

Now, many of these ladies have already finished their UTs (for the newbies reading out there, UT stands for "unaccompanied tour"). And I've noticed that, in most cases, when their husbands come back for a break, their blogs go silent - as mine just did. And when their husbands return to post, they get back to blogging about how much they miss those spouses of theirs, as I will presumably also do.

But what happens in the interim? I guess I always just figured that when their husbands came home, they were too busy catching up on life together to stop and blog.

I think, though, that at last I know the secret to their silence. And how do I explain this in a manner that doesn't send my own darling husband through the roof with annoyance? (Sorry, my love, but you did tell me I need to blog more, right?)

The problem is, and I don't think anyone out there wants to admit this for the whole world to see, but the problem is, it isn't all perfect when they come home. I mean, you want it to be perfect. You plan for it to be perfect. You choose his favorite outfit to wear to the airport; you make his favorite dinner that first night.

But then.

Then there are dentist appointments and sick kids and a broken-down car and a work commitment that can't be changed and everything piles up and pretty soon you're back in the real world again, with all of its small pains and aggravations and seriously don't you remember that you need to cut the crusts off of the peanut butter sandwiches???

So you want it to be perfect, but it can't be perfect, because it's simply back to what it was before, which is ordinary married life, in all of its wonderful-tedious-fabulous glory. Except that you only have a few short days to make it absolutely perfect, so maybe, just maybe, you get a little bit stressy and a little bit pissy and I guess maybe what I'm trying to say here is that I know the kids will eat the sandwiches with or without the crusts, you're right about that, so I should've just let that one go, okay? I admit it. You were right.

The thing is, when you only have a few short days to cram everything in, you can't make it perfect. Really, what you need to aim for is to just show up and make it what it is, what it was before the UT started. Perfect or not, it's what you have. And when you think about it, what you have is pretty damned nice.

So yes, he was here, and yes, he is gone again, and yes, we had so much fun together, and yes, I still believe wholeheartedly that technically, the crusts do not belong on the sandwiches. But it was sure nice to have someone else around making the sandwiches. Even if he didn't remember how to make them.

Those sandwiches were as near to perfect as a PB&J can be, crust or no.

He will be back for his next R&R in February. February! That's a horribly long time to be alone with four kids. If you count the days in PB&Js, well, that's.... too many to count.

So no. It wasn't perfect. But it was perfectly wonderful to have him home again, reading to the kids and bringing me coffee in the mornings.

We miss him already.  I miss him already.

And now, if you'll excuse me, those sandwiches won't make themselves. Not this week, anyway.
Saying goodbye.


Connie said... [Reply]

Who knew that PB&J could make me feel weepy?? Hang in there! I am so glad that you all had some time together!

Rachel said... [Reply]

Oh man. Every word. You nailed the R&R reality.

xian nu said... [Reply]

Can't be easy Donna! I'm sorry...the picture makes me weepy too! Enjoy the imperfection....that is certainly daily life.

Noble Glomads said... [Reply]

I was that weird kid that ate everyone else's crusts:)
It is hard and stressful and single parenting it even for a year is rough.

janelle said... [Reply]

thanks for sharing so honestly!

Sara said... [Reply]

This is truly the sweetest thing I've read in a long time. Thanks for sharing.

Deborah said... [Reply]

Thinking of you. Xoxo

Liz said... [Reply]

You nailed it. This is definitely a lesson we all learn -- eg. my post about Nick's first visit home from Kabul (

And it's one I'm still learning - eg. me shrieking at Nick for leaving stuff on my desk during his most recent visit home from Cairo. Thanks for reminding me that I'm not the only one going through these experiences. :-)

Please. Write your own stuff.