Sisterhood of the Traveler’s Wife

I see you mama. Because I am you. Whether it was the plan from the outset or something that has evolved over time, you too have become the wife of a traveling husband. It may be that far off look in your eye as I pass you at school. Or maybe it is the way I sense your need for being….anywhere where you can get five minutes to yourself. Like a secret cult, I can pick you out in a crowd and identify that yes…she too needs adult interaction today.

This wasn’t always the plan. I had always envisioned myself as a full time working woman but life changes and your realize that might not be the best fit for your family. Lately when I’ve answered the call with my own mom on the line and she asks what I’ve been up to my answer has been “I’ve been a mom today” and I’m much more happy with that answer then I was in the past. I used to answer with lofty details of how our family achieved whatever the goal of the day was. But to be honest, the end goal was always survival.

It’s a different atmosphere being the wife of a husband who travels. Work trips are frequent and can be last minute. The kids don’t bat an eye when he goes because they know that is his job and we are all doing what we need to be doing. But when the dust settles and the plane has taken off, the reality is, it’s a one parent show. Morning routines, school prep, homework, after school activities, nighttime routine rest on the shoulders of yours truly. And that’s not a knock on the traveling partner- we know that the responsibility of providing for a family is a great one and we are so appreciative of that work. It speaks volumes to how much the person is missed- we miss the morning coffee and the nighttime stories split up with the kids. When you first get married “we want to have four kids!!!” sounds like such an exciting prospect until you realize that is four of everything – homework and laundry, meals, snacks, second dinners, sports, bedtime stories, and late night snuggles. That’s why when he comes home we feel the floodgates of relief. It’s not that we aren’t able to handle it alone. It’s that we are so grateful to have a partner to share this tough parenting road with us. There is a quiet solitude of insanity when the only adult you see for the day are the teachers in car line – as you eagerly wave to them knowing “this is it!”

And so we’ve come to the sisterhood. That for which the traveling partners would not be able to travel. The moms who have taken your kids to school knowing nothing but your kids name and address- but you are deathly sick at home so off to school they go. The moms who will run that extra errand for you because they know your hands are not full…they’ve overflown enough to fill an ocean. The moms who drop everything when you need someone last minute to watch your kids. They don’t ask or need a reason. They just show up. And it is with that emphatic and unwavering love that the sisterhood holds all traveling families together. They don’t ask for perfection. They don’t ask questions. They just know that there is another mother our there who has reached the end point- and they are there to love one another.  You may not know it sister, but I see you.  I’ve seen you for years.   And I will always be here for you.

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