Last week, Mr. Roller Coaster went “on a trip.” It’s not one of his longer trips, but it’s not one of his shorter ones either. And for some inexplicable reason, this goodbye hit me harder than I expected.
Maybe it’s because of the stress I’ve been dealing with at work lately. Maybe it’s because Little C and I both have colds. Maybe it’s because I’ve been spoiled by having him home for so long. Whatever the reason, this trip feels different. I’m dreading the quiet as I get ready for work without hearing him frantically search for his car keys or his cell phone. I’m dreading eating dinner without exchanging stories from our days at work. And I’m dreading the exhaustion of being a single parent after working all day.
This is the longest trip he’s had to go on since I went back to work. Last year when he was deployed, I was a stay-at-home mom, and I forced myself to stay busy so I wouldn’t dwell on his absence or the calendar. Now that I’m working, I almost feel like I have the opposite problem. I’m too busy! And I can’t decide which extreme makes these trips easier.
I usually allow myself to wallow in self-pity for a day or 2 after he leaves so I took a mental health day off from work last week. I dropped the kids off at school, watched more tv than I usually watch in an entire week, took a nap, read half a book, and ate too much chocolate. Add a relaxing weekend on top of that, and I think I’m ready to snap out of my pity party. Life goes on.