Friday, May 15, 2009

Spring is the season for change

for our little family....

Patrick, after negotiating for about a month, finally signed a deal memo Monday and began a new job Tuesday, as an energy auditor trainer. I'll explain more about what that is another day.

This is huge change for our family. This is the first regular, full time job I think that Patrick has had in our 15 years together, aside from a fairly regular bartending schedule (at night, of course) some 12 or so years ago. There are benefits, there is a fairly consistent schedule. Quite frankly, it's a little weird for me.

I think it's going to be a very positive change for our family in the long run...that is my want for us. In the short run, for the next year, at any rate, he will be traveling about 75% of the time.
Helena is less than pleased with this prospect. Our trial run this week, while he traveled for just 3 days, was emotional for her...she missed daddy at bed time, missed daddy in the mornings, and wanted to put some of his things away so she wouldn't be reminded of missing him and had a very hard time being left with her grandparents, an adventure she usually relishes weekly. The 3rd day we settled in and she was more herself, it was my day off, and we had a lovely day together. Then he came home and it was a joyful reunion. I expect it will be quite different for her, and me too, when he leaves for 2-3 weeks at a time.

I have incredibly mixed feelings about the whole change in our lives. On the one hand, the idea of medical benefits and a regular paycheck that I can budget to is very appealing. Direct deposit, even!

On the other hand, I feel, in a weird sort of way, like a mother whose child is about to leave the nest. Our relationship has had a lot of that flavor, maybe because of the relatively unstable childhood home life Patrick had compared to mine, perhaps because he is the youngest child in his family and I am the oldest in mine, we've gravitated toward those roles. Whatever the reason, it has been an uneasy element in our relationship for both us, I think. He has half wanted half resented the mothering I've tried to give him, which, especially since the birth of Helena, I have very little energy left for and have resented myself.

He shows a strong desire, for maybe the first time since I've known him, to truly learn to care for himself and take good care of himself, and I'm optimistic about his ability to do so. And oddly, I think this intense travel schedule will be helpful in allowing him the space to learn to care for himself while giving me some physical distance from our relationship so that I can learn to let him go to take care of himself, which after so many years has to be a conscious effort for me.

So on the one hand I'm excited about the relative financial stability in our lives while mourning the loss of scheduling freedom we've grown very accustomed to. I'm relishing the space to claim some space for myself and relearn how to be in my marriage in a healthier way, and on the other hand, I'll miss him, Helena will miss him, and I'm rather stressed about how to handle the details of our lives for the most part on my own, while still's rental season, the apartments have to be shown on the weekends even when all I want to do is stay home and hang with my little girl, we have a final apartment to renovate which I will be, at least to some extent, coordinating, seeking financing for, etc...

So for the moment, I'm seeking the balance between loving and separating, rest and work and work and work, supporting without smothering, and finding some space for the solitary pieces of me that still ache for attention while I care for my precious daughter.


Nicole said...

whoof...big stuff.
The changes will happen, and I believe that all of you will thrive because of it.
I love all 3 of you, and wish I was closer to help!

Auntie, aka Dog Girl said...

Yes, as Nicole commented, big stuff.
But after a while, who knows? You and Patrick might grow CLOSER because absence makes the heart fonder.
I kinda wish I had more space from my Partner.

subtorp77 said...

Wow! This is big. As one who's father was away from home a lot, I can relate. But I've also seen the looks on the wives and children of my fellow sailors, upon returning home. They are a very supportive group, those gals! Best wishes for you and yours, Diane :)

Diana said...

Thanks all, for your kinds comments! I'm optimistic that this will ultimately be good for us, although a bit concerned for Helena.

subtorp77 said...

True, it can be tough; especially for kids over 3 or 4, as they've built up a memory pattern of the parents. But beyond say, 6 years, kids have a more developed sense of loss and will notice if something or someone is amiss. It took me a while to explain to the Princess why I don't come round as often as I'd like. But there is still the phone ( although saying "I miss you" can be a tear-jerker ). Don't know if that helps any, Diane???