I spent yesterday moving all my gear out of the living room and back to the workroom - the knitting machines, the cones of yarn, the pattern books, the rolls of crochet hooks and knitting needles, random sample swatches, cast on combs, swift, ball and cone winders. I took the blocking wires out of knitted pieces and put away the many things I hadn't bothered with while I was lord of the manor.
I cleaned out the fridge and folded the washing, I cleaned up in the kitchen, changed the bedsheets and brought the bins in. I emptied the compost, swept the deck and rented a couple of new DVDs for a movie night last night so the kids wouldn't sit forlornly at the front window waiting for a plane delayed late arriving exhausted dad to come home.
I visited the chiro in the morning too, who is getting as good as me at recognizing the cycle of long haul solo parenting. The lack of sleep making me dependent on adrenaline, the adrenaline tightening my muscles and irritating my digestion, prompting headaches and migraines and neck and shoulder pain as well as teeth grinding and jaw pain. He realigns my ribs and temporarily relieves the chest pains and brings a flood of energy and a break in the dark clouds amassing, my growing exhaustion and frustration and sadness about the way my body and life bear the costs of D's relentless travel.
Wil crosses the last day off his chart of sleeps till daddy comes home but his night waking and nightmares has taken a toll on him too and he's flushed with exhaustion, cranky and disobedient. He still suspects that daddy might never come despite my assurances. I'm snippy with the girl child too and she's teary and full of a sense of injustice and I feel bad that I need her to pull her weight even if it's a reasonable expectation.
I know this part of the cycle. We're all exhausted and I am doing my best not to expect that the homecoming will bring with it the instant and total relief I crave.
Knowing in fact that the homecoming is often the site where lots of negative emotions to get played out. Resentment that I don't get a commensurate 'time off' after the efforts of holding the fort, my sense of loss over having my own (craft filled and friend filled) dominion. D clucking his tongue at how standards have slipped and the kids have gotten away with murder while he's been gone. Each of us feeling in our own ways ripped off and a certain awkwardness over where to from here.
I'm used to it by now, it's part and parcel of The Way Things Are. But like most inevitabilities, knowing it, recognising it, seeing it coming is no protection from it. I fancy I feel a little less resentful than I used, but maybe it's only because the exhaustion seems all the greater. I accept more as my sense of possibility to change thing diminishes. I'm guessing that's not a good thing. Or maybe it is, in some kooky Buddhist sense. After all the great lessons of life revolve around just this requirement to submit beyond the level that you comfortably can. Only time will tell I guess.