Home Alone

The Scene: My house, a couple of months ago

Great Guy: There’s a 10-day trip to Africa in August. I’d like to go if my boss gives the ok.

Me: Africa? Um, ok. But that’s far. And long.

Great Guy: It has to do with feeding starving people.

Me: Oh. Starving people you say? Gosh. Yeah, we need to feed them. (hopes that boss nixes the idea)

Weeks later…

Great Guy: Boss said yes! I’m going to Africa!

Me: Yay! (whimpers)


So, um, yeah. My husband? Is going to Africa? For ten days? Starting on Saturday.

I’m hyperventilating just writing that.

That’s ten days of me being the only person to get C out of bed, get him fed, get him dressed, get me dressed, get him to school, get me to work, work, get C from school, get C home, get him fed, get him bathed, get him into bed, That’s 10 days of me working non-stop from 6am to 9pm and dealing with a child who will probably really, really, REALLY want to see his daddy.

When will I eat? And bathe myself? When will I blog??????

I know ten days is not the long stretch in Afghanistan that Kate from MommyLand’s husband did recently. Nor is it the year in Korea that Amber at Airing My Dirty Laundry’s husband is facing. But for me? It’s a big deal.

I live in perpetual awe of single parents. How do you do it? How do you stay creative and engaged? How do you play the role of Kisser of All Boo-boos, Answerer of All Questions, Reader of All Stories, Giver of All Hugs? How do you manage if something goes wrong? What if the toilets back up or the car doesn’t start or the kids get sick or, worse, you get sick but the kids don’t?

I’m calling for back up while my husband is away. I’ve got my parents coming in for a few days and I’m starting line up playdates to distract from the glaring absence of Daddy that we’ll soon be facing. I’m getting daddy to tape some videos that we can watch and I’m looking into Skype (Do they have Skype in Africa?). But it’s not going to be easy. When I told C that Mimi and Pop-pop were coming while Daddy goes away he burst into tears, ordered Daddy to not go and declared that he didn’t want to see Mimi and Pop-pop. Clearly, this is going to be challenging.

And then there’s the part where I’m really going to be missing my husband myself. Life isn’t nearly as much fun when I’m watching MSNBC at work and hearing all about Brett Favre retiring again and can’t joke about it with him. And who will I talk to about the implications on the corn processing industry from findings that cancer cells replicate using fructose? Because I’d be willing to bet if I tried to blog about that sort of thing, you all would run far, far away.

I really don’t want him to go to Africa. It scares me. I’m afraid he’ll get malaria or there’ll be a violent uprising or he’ll eat some really nasty unwashed fruit and get sick from it.


I want him to learn how to enhance the programs that feed starving people. And so does he. And that’s why I married him.

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15 comments for “Home Alone

  1. August 4, 2010 at 7:26 am

    The first time my husband went on a trip when my kids were small, I was so scared… After 2 weeks of him being away, I didn’t want him to come back! We were running like a well-oiled machine!

  2. August 4, 2010 at 8:27 am

    Yes they have Skype in Africa – my sister is using it during her Peace Corps stint. And make sure he/you have international calling turned on on your cell phones!

    My husband has only done a week or so away since we had kids but it’s only a matter of time before he’s deployed for several months or more. I’m told 10 days is just about the hardest amount of time because you haven’t yet gotten into a real, comfortable pattern but you’ve adjusted enough that when he comes home you feel all out of whack again. Good luck!!

    p.s. And if you need people to talk to, that’s what Twitter is for 🙂

  3. August 4, 2010 at 8:43 am

    And here I was feeling all whiny and complain-y about my husband leaving for 3 days. Props to the military & single parents… and thanks for the reminder, you.

  4. August 4, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Oh, gosh, I can’t imagine. I’d be feeling the exact same way. I really don’t know how single parents do it. But good for your husband for doing this and good for you for supporting it. Do you have copious amounts of wine to knock back after C goes to bed?

  5. Hope C
    August 4, 2010 at 9:49 am

    My husband may be going to Portugal for a week in October and I am totally freaking out. I have 3 kids…yes 3!! At that time the twins will be 5 and the baby will be 9 1/2 months! I admire all single parents and parents of a spouse that serves in the military.

  6. August 4, 2010 at 10:25 am

    I was going to be all sympathetic and nice, but sadly I can’t, because I’ve become stricken with fear of fructose.

    Is fructose giving me cancer?

    ‘Cause I’m kinda freaking out inside.

  7. thenextmartha
    August 4, 2010 at 11:47 am

    You can do it! You might need some Trader Joe’s chocolates to get through but you can do it. You’ll still have us. Though I don’t know anything about football so I can’t take that one.

  8. August 4, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    it will be an adjustment girl. My ex worked 12 – 16 hour days. I remember the first time I had to parent 24/7 without him. It took a week or so but I adjusted and then soon learned to prefer the times when he was gone. Notice I said “EX” so it’s not like we had an incredibly amazing relationship in the first place.
    You will get it and learn that two parents are good, one parent is good. It’s just different. Kind of like McDonalds and Burger King – serve the same food just different. Hope you settle and have a wonderful time.

    I hope he has an incredible time and learns how to change the world.

  9. KLZ
    August 4, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Blogging after the kid goes to bed and while the husband is away is actually the best time to blog, I swear. So much more productive.

  10. August 4, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    We don’t even have kids yet and I was a complete mess last year when Husband spent three days in Houston. I couldn’t sleep at all.

    On the upside I watched a LOT of TV on DVD.

    But I was miserable.

    If I’d had to actually be responsible for things while he was gone, I might have burned the house down.

  11. liltoastfairy
    August 4, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    I concur with the others (altho I have lotsa kids we haven’t done long stints of husband away), you will find a groove that works for you. and the best thing you can do to cope is to not beat yourself up, or expect things to be perfect.
    Feeding your child breakfast cereal for dinner a couple of times is NOT going to kill them. Especially if it’s the difference between calmly having a meal and stressing out. :O)

    and remember it’s only for 10 days, which although it seems forever now, in reality it’s just over a week.

    you’re an amazing woman and Mum. You can do this.

    And just keep in mind how wonderful it’s gonna be to welcome your Great Guy home ;O)

  12. August 4, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    I know you must be so proud of him. You’ll do great. Head to Target and grab a couple extra T-boxes 🙂

  13. August 4, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    I completely understand and feel your pain. My husband travels for work. And while he is never gone for more than 3 days, it still sucks.

    Good luck! On the plus side, you can feed your son Cheerios for dinner without judgement. Oh, well that’s what I do. And we may or may not eat in front of the TV.

  14. August 5, 2010 at 12:46 am

    You’ll be okay! I know it can be scary but everything will work out.

    I’m on Day 2 of my husband being gone for a year and it’s still weird but eventually I hope it won’t be as weird…

  15. CDG
    August 5, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    If it helps with the worrying part? I have a dear friend (travel writer) who has been living in, writing about, and blogging from Africa, everywhere from Fez to Nairobi to Johannesburg, for the past three years, and while he’s seen some terrible things? He’s in love with the continent and physically unscathed.

    Good luck! and we the internets will be here if you need us for anything!

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