I'm attached to my kids - apparently.
Last night I had a discussion with a few moms about how we feel about leaving our kids for extended periods of time. I was the most extreme one in the group. It is very difficult for me. I dread planning to leave my kids. I feel totally sick when it is time to actually say goodbye. While gone, I miss them terribly. I am fine for the first few hours, but after one night, I cannot wait to get back to them.
The other moms expressed how easy it is for them, how important it is, and how wonderful it is for them and their marriage relationships.
My husband seemed quite put out.
Afterwards, I wondered why I feel so different. After having my first child, I remember feeling like I had a permanent attachment - one that I spent enormous amounts of energy on and sacrificed continuously for. I thought it was normal to have anxiety while separated from him for longer than a few hours.
But, I had to reevaluate last night.
My first thought process involved our current lifestyle, as compared to the other families present for the discussion. My husband is gone a lot. He works anywhere from 60-80 hours every week. His commute ranges from 40-80 minutes per day. When he is home, he must study for a minimum of 30-60 minutes a day, in order to keep up with the material he will be responsible for to pass his boards. Combined, he is "not present" 15 hours, every single day.
Honestly, I probably spend a lot more time talking with my kids than I do talking with my husband. He is always tired, and usually sleeping, while I am putting the kids to bed. We plan together, solve problems together, play together, eat together, study scriptures together, talk about problems at school together, talk about deep life questions together... without him.
In fact, (my thought process continues), my children seem to have become one of my few constant support systems - even greater than the support my husband provides. My eight-year old son has lived in seven different homes in four different cities. My 18-month old has lived in two different homes in two different cities. Our family life is constantly facing major changes, amidst varying support systems consisting of changing neighborhoods, church associations, and family and friends living nearby.
And my husband continues to be gone for most of it.
I felt justified in this reasoning - though I might also be totally skewed. It made sense to me. Part of me wanted to explain this to my husband. But, the other part of me realized that he would never understand this. He has an automatic support system with his work. He always will. He creates a biking support system wherever we are. And... I don't think he'll ever feel the almost literal attachment to the children like I do. Am I wrong in assuming this?
So, right now, and for a while longer probably, my children will be my closest support system. And, yes, I will likely continue to miss them terribly whenever we are apart for extended periods of time - to my husband's dismay, and others' surprise.