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It’s strange day today: roles are reversed. I’m the one packing to go away for a few days and he’s the one who’s chosen to stay home so he can have few more hours with me and see me off when I leave.
How many times have I said goodbye for his work trips? How many early hasty airport drop offs with views of the sunrise through suppressed tears on my return drive home? How many too fast loading of luggage into a taxi’s boot? How many feelings that he’s mentally gone before he physically left later that day?
I always delayed sleeping the first few nights, trying to avoid that too cold, too big, too quiet bed, until eventually the advantage of sleeping diagonally became the silver lining in this cloud. Only the warmth of his return to it brought the bed back into its welcome secure proportions again.
I remember how much the children missed him, the questions I had to field about why Daddy’s job took him to other countries away from them. And I remember how hurt and confused he felt on his return when these two little people refused to speak to him for the first few days because they were still cross that he had left them for a while. Presents were either refused or quickly snatched before turning their backs on him and marching out.
And now it’s me that’s going. And there will be no children in the house to distract him, no chance of a Boys’ Night In watching their favourite movies and having takeaway, only work and a visit to his father in law.
It feels strange. It feels a bit like I am abandoning him, even though I’ll only be 12 miles away.
But I am reminded of our early days, before we married, when we lived miles apart, only together at weekends and not always that. We wore matching gold pendants, two halves of a broken heart with the word MIZPAH on it. It really references a border dispute between a man and his father in law but the Bible verse held hope and comfort for us:
‘The Lord watch between thee and me, while we are apart one from another.’ (Genesis 31.49)
May it be true again this weekend.