Jeff got back this morning after being gone for 12 days. He flew to Alaska to meet up with some friends in Anchorage, and then the three of them took a helicopter deep into the Chugach Mountains and camped for seven nights. They spent eight days exploring the mountains and skiing big peaks.
It was an amazing trip. I know so because he told me and also because the two of us did a similar trip many years ago before we had kids.
I’m thrilled he went. I encouraged him to go. It was a triumphant return to the lifestyle he loves following his broken femur last year. Also—because we’re simply not in a space where we can both go on big adventures together, I am fine with us taking separate vacations for now (so long as we get our family time in).
So why do I feel so out of whack now that he’s finally home?
Part of it is burnout. I’ve been on single parent duty a ton this month. I took the boys on an 8-day vacation/reporting trip to California in mid-March and then I had them for the entire time Jeff was gone.
The boys are generally great and cooperative, but they are three and five. They demand a lot of oversight.
That—as I’ve written about before—is draining. I thought I’d put them to bed at 7 every night and then work on my creative writing for hours.
Also, I’m bummed Jeff made his travel plans to return Monday on a red-eye flight instead of Sunday. He had his reasons, and I understand them.
Nonetheless, his return mid-morning on the first day of the work week meant he parachuted into chaos. Between work deadlines and other obligations, I’m going to be gone several nights this week. The boys have a busy week. And I wish Jeff had allowed time to ease back into the routine of things.
In the big picture, this is no big deal. But for some reason, it’s having a heyday with my emotions. I wanted to celebrate Jeff’s trip, to welcome him home with open arms and lots of hugs and kisses.
Instead I feel grumpy about his trip planning even though I know this is no recipe for success.
The truth is I am thrilled to have Jeff home. I’ve missed him tons and the boys have, too.
Methinks this is the moment to make a conscious decision to be nice.
Sure, it would have been great to have him home for Easter, but he wasn’t here, and we still had a fine day.
Sure, it would have been nice to have a day of easing into things, but we don’t have that, and we’ll be fine.
Sure, I could focus on how burned out I feel, but he’s home and eager to take some of the load off. So why perseverate on something that is no longer my reality?
Right. I won’t.
Instead I’ll concentrate on his health and mine, our family, and each of our needs.
And I’ll use this reentry period to work on being positive.