August 14, 2009

Wish You Were Here. . .

I think I’m a pretty good wife, but I draw the line right here!

Although he's self-employed, my husband's work requires him to travel a good bit. As the spouse that stays home, I know what it’s like to be alone and juggle all the balls needed to keep a family clicking along for extended periods of time. (I have tons of respect for single moms and military families for whom this is the norm.)

When my husband first started his business about six years ago I knew it might involve a lot of travel. And I was NOT happy. One of his first big projects involved him being away for nine weeks. I dreaded it. If throwing a full-blown temper tantrum would have changed his mind about going, I would have thrown one. A big one.

For the first year or so, I had a hard time with his travel schedule. Plus, one might say I had a wee little problem with selfishness. During and after his travels often anger, resentment and feelings of being put-upon reared their ugly heads. Then, before Dan left on a seven-week trip, I pleaded with God to help me through his absence. Lord, guard my heart. Give me understanding and patience. Help me to persevere as both mother and father. Let me support my husband in the way he deserves to be supported. And use this experience to strengthen our marriage...and our family.

Do you know what? God answered that prayer. Almost to the letter. (I know because I wrote the prayer down.) Since then, while I don’t always enjoy my husband traveling, I thank God He's replaced my anger with pride and allowed me to step up as a team player.

That is . . . until today.

Dan’s away for a few weeks, out west on business. So while I toil away, wilting in the hot, humid weather here, he’s in "God's country"—Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. Although, according to his first email update I felt a little bad for him.

“Sorry I didn’t call tonight – didn’t get to my room until about 11:30 your time. Will call during my LOOONNGG drive tomorrow.”

As Dan traveled through Utah yesterday, he assaulted my inbox with pictorial updates. It was like my own real-time travelogue. At first, the notes endeared and intrigued.

"Just getting started...WOW!"

"Beautiful country!"

Arches National Park... And I'm only in the parking lot! More to come..."

Then they made me jealous.
He’s supposed to be driving like a fool, not doing a tour of national parks. National parks I want to see!

"It's like a freaking roadrunner/Wile E. Coyote cartoon!”

“Delicate Arch. You guys HAVE to see this!!"

Then he got cocky and just started to rub it in! This is a business trip. Not a vacation!

“Driving from Moab along the Colorado river...and the hits just keep on comin'!”

“Ho hum...another amazing this crappy car they make me drive.”


By the sixteenth update, I had lost my joy.

And then this morning (where he's working at a Land Rover Center) I received this one:

It gets'll never guess who showed up this morning to have a flat tire fixed. This lovely Range Rover-owning couple from Aspen...Greg Norman and Chris Evert.”

Chris Evert and Greg Norman?! Are you kidding me? That’s it. That’s the final straw! I typed my reply: “OK, now I REALLY hate you!”

Of course I’m kidding. Sort of.

I want to be out there having fun, too. But, I'm so thankful Dan loves doing what he does. . . and that he has a job at all. Plus I see how hard he works most of the time, I'm glad to see him kicking back, having fun and being amazed by creation. (Plus, I know his being there will accelerate our family traveling out to see these sights.)

As I sit here, in my visually ordinary, suburban life, I thank God He’s changed my heart so I really can rejoice with my husband without any hidden agenda or simmering emotions. Marriage isn’t always easy, but it’s God’s gift to us as we walk through this life. As it says in Ecclesiastes, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (4:13)

Thanks to Dan (and an iPhone) in my mind’s eye I marvel at the splendor of creation and in my heart I cherish the beauty of marriage.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)


Sassy Granny ... said...

These places are in my back yard! I've traveled many a kindred road, and seen so much beauty here in the Southwest. Colorado is a "must see", so lush is it.

Now celebrity tire changing is a tough one to top. I'm thinking hubby's grin may take a long time to wear off.

My hubby travels a lot as well. It no longer bothers me, but that's because I'm no longer herding children and slaying dragons alone. It was tough (really tough) when they were young. It felt like he was having all the fun, and I was having all the work & worry.

Oh the joys of working it all out.

I loved the post, Kelli. You can come hang out in Arizona anytime. I have a lovely guest room (the whole upstairs to be exact) that's just waiting.

Be blessed,

Kelly Combs said...

I can completely understand the travel envy. As a stay home mom, I sometimes think about how my husband gets to go out to lunch EVERY DAY while I'm home "slaving" over laundry, meals, groceries and kids (& their fights!)

But truth is, his working allows me to do the very thing I want to do, which is stay home.

You have a GREAT attitude! Thanks for sharing it!

Terri Tiffany said...

You have a sweet sounding husband:) I know it would be hard to be away from him for sure. But at this point in our lives here, I would be happy if my husband had a job that he loved even if it meant he traveled and I don't mean that badly toward you at all:) I just mean that's where I would come from but we are all different and I don't have children at home to raise alone. I would miss him terribly though as we are always together.
The pictures were great!!! I hope your time apart is filled with awesome experiences for both of you!!

Jody Hedlund said...

I can't imagine having my husband away for weeks at a time. I have a friend whose husband travels so much and she is single parenting so often! Makes me grateful for my husband's city job and that he's able to be home and help me carve out more writing time!

Runner Mom said...

Wow, Kelli! These are gorgeous pics!! And Chrissy Everett??? Wow!! I know where you're coming from. Craig gets to do the traveling, and I get to do McDonalds here in Greenville! I pray the same prayer as you--Not to be selfish. I am so blessed that he has a job, and I can sub as needed.

Thanks for this reminder, sweet friend!!
Love you!

Dan said...

Uh-oh. I should have seen this coming. Somewhere around the 8th travelogue message I sent to Kelli, it occurred to me that I might have one foot on the hiking trail to Double O Arch and the other in a shallow grave of my own making. So, here's what I did - sent about 8 more messages. Some guys never learn.
Here's the deal (he said, desperately believing he could devise a plausible defense)...the day didn't start out that way. It really did begin at 5:30 a.m. as a very long but necessary drive from Salt Lake City to Glenwood Springs, CO. I'm out here working on a dealer training program with my client Land Rover North America and it was moving day. About 4 hours into the drive, my colleague (in the other car ahead of me) abruptly pulled over into a rest stop. As I got out of the car, concerned that he had some sort of major mechanical issue, he walked toward me with an atlas in his hand and said, " ever seen Moab or Arches? You're about 30 miles from it right now. How about I carry on to the dealership and you join me whenever you get there?"
There was only one possible reply, "I can't not do this." The rest of the day was...well, you've seen (some of) it. This was why I packed my hiking boots, Camelbak, walking stick and heavy socks on this trip.
This country is literally breathtaking, and there's no better way to see it than to park the car, lace up your boots and walk it. There are also darned few better places to see God's construction work and to thank Him for giving me the skills and desire to do what I do for a living, for talented colleagues to work with (and sometimes point me in the right NON-work direction), for a fascinating and constantly changing planet to inhabit...and for a wife who understands my long hours, trips away from home and even the.......excuse me a moment, the phone's ringing....sorry, I'd love to tell you more and continue rationalizing my behavior, but Greg's on the line - he wants to fit in nine before lunch. Later.

Cheryl Barker said...

What an ornery husband you have, Kelli :) (By the way, the pics are amazing!)

Laura said...

Oh, girl. You are a bigger woman than I! I just don't know if I could rejoice for my hubs in the midst of laundry and all, the way you have.

You are a role model, lady. An inspiration.

Mama Mote said...

I don't know you and your hubby, but he sounds like a great guy as he tries to "rationalize" his trip. Love that he tried to do that. You will definitely get through this and I'm sure he'll take you on all these trips because if he doesn't, you know all of us here will know about it. :) God bless you and Dan (my husband's name, too) and I think I'm jealous, too - Gregg & Chrissy!!!!!! Two of my favorites.

Madison said...

My father was literally gone for months at a time. I can tell you that the role you fill is mighty important to your children.

Carmen said...

Your husband reads your blog??? That alone is impressive. I hear you though. It's hard to be alone and solely relied upon for extended periods of time. The photos are just breathtaking! Thanks for sharing. We all need to be reminded that a lasting marriage consists of compromise, consideration, communication, and most importantly to be centered in Christ.

Julie Gillies said...

Oh Kelli, I understand! My husband used to travel all the time. At one point he was gone for eleven weeks...and when he arrived home our 2 yr. old son was in the hospital with pneumonia. None of us liked it, and eventually he got another job.

Thank God that HE helps us with our attitudes. And by the way, your hubby's pics are gorgeous!

Truth4thejourney said...

I can so relate to this post! When I was newly married to my hubby, I quit my job to stay at home with our first daughter and I got jealous of his life. It took me several years and a lot of tears and repentance to get to the point where I was not longer green with envy. It isn't always easy, your right! But God is good to teach us how to get along and love eachother.

Sonya Lee

Sue J. said...

We just got off the road (from Ohio), but I had a chance to read this before we left. We saw a Utah license plate on the way home, and it has that gorgeous arch on it. I thought of you (not Dan....sorry)!

My hubby does a yearly conference out west. He just did Red Rocks park outside Vegas--and sent gazillions of pictures home! (sigh!)

When he worked in consulting, he did a 9 month job a couple states away. He sometimes came home on weekends! It was in the days sans kids, but I needed that kind of experience to set me up for his future travel--which is practically non-existent now. I learned, with the help of friends, to remember the joys of alone time, explore new things at home.

Given your history with the Grand Canyon, it wouldn't surprise me at all if you ended up on a western excursion sometime.

Of course, you could surprise Dan and take the kids to some cool eastern location (um....?) and send photos on that handy iPhone.

Get Real Girl said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. I am the spouse that stays home and it gets hard. My husband doesn't travel a lot, but he works a lot. Even though he is generally just down the street, the days get really long and it gets hard being the only parent in the house sometimes. Thanks for sharing!