For 2 years, I was a single mother with a husband. That doesn’t sound right, does it? Kinda like saying “my husband is coming to visit!” But that was my life. My husband would be gone for months at a time, and not even be home long enough to spend the time unpacking before he would leave again.
My husband is a hard working man. He would do anything to provide for us. Even if that meant working on the road, thousands of miles from your family. It meant missing first steps, first birthdays, and the first broken bone.
When people would ask what state he was in, I would reply “somewhere East”. Living in southwest Washington, I couldn’t really be wrong. I couldn’t always keep track. Every day it was somewhere new, a different hotel in a different town that wasn’t ours. He switched companies a couple times, all with the promise of more time spent home, and yet he would be needed in Houston before he was done in Charleston and there was no time to come home.
Meanwhile Addison was growing up, learning new things every day, and realizing that her daddy was never home. From the day she was born, Zack would sing the song “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” to her, and when he was away she would listen to that song on repeat. We face timed every chance we got, but it didn’t make up for the absence of her daddy.
When Zack was home it was better than Christmas, both for Addison and myself. It was like the two of them would pick up right where they left off, like they were never apart. We would make the most of every second we had together, because when it was time to leave again, we never knew how long it would be for. Addison began to understand when he was leaving again. Saying goodbye was so hard on her that zack began booking his flights early in the morning, before she would wake up. But the mornings were hard when she would go through the house opening doors, calling “daddy, daddy”.
When I became pregnant with Elliette, I really started to question whether this was a lifestyle that I wanted to live anymore. I was afraid Zack would miss Elliette’s birth, and all her firsts as well. I was afraid we would live this lifestyle forever, and that he would have to say “take lots of pictures for me” before every dance recital or first day of school.
Not to mention our marriage! When would we ever have time to be husband and wife? Our relationship consisted of him leaving a voicemail every morning before work, so that I could wake up to his voice, and face timing when he got off work. Occasionally he would stay up until after Addison went to bed so that just him and I could talk, but with a time zone difference, working a 12 hour shift that day, and looking forward to a 12 hour shift early the next morning, these calls were few and far between. We made the most of his time home, but those days went by all too quickly.
My pregnancy with Elliette was difficult and high risk. I had a sub chorionic hematoma, meaning she could arrive at any time, even months early. This terrified me. At that point, I had come to terms with the fact that I would be in the delivery room alone when the day would come. I just hoped he would make it home within the same day.
We got ahead on bills so that zack could take off the maximum amount of time his company would allow. But 4 weeks just didn’t seem like enough. At 34 weeks pregnant, I was in a hit and run car accident and was in and out of the hospital after that. Zack was anxious to come home, but we both knew that every day he spent home before Elliette was born, meant one less day spent with her before he had to leave again. Then one night, when I had once again ended up in triage, Zack bought a flight home without my permission. I was so upset. I was afraid it wasn’t time yet, and he would waste all his time off before Elliette was born.
He landed back in Portland on a Tuesday afternoon. Thursday morning, my water broke and we had a beautiful little girl the next night. I don’t know how he knew that it was time, but he did and I’m so grateful. He was there through my 33 hours of labor and emergency C-section, and he was there to hold our baby girl when she was born. I don’t know that I would have made it through those days without him.
We were still in the hospital when Zack called his boss and said he wasn’t coming back. He had missed so much of Addison’s firsts, and was not about to make the same mistake with Elliette. He had worked so hard to make sure that Addison would never go without, yet she was going without something that meant so much more than any material item.. Her daddy. At the time, we didn’t have a plan for work. But he wouldn’t miss any more birthdays, Halloweens or first words. Daddy was coming home for good.