Perhaps that title is a little more dramatic than what actually happened, but in my imagination, it’s the truth.
One of the perks of being married to an airline pilot–in theory–is free standby travel. If one has hours to spend at the airport, doesn’t have to arrange childcare, or doesn’t have a job with regular hours, this could be a wonderful benefit of being married to someone who is home as often as he is away. But I digress.
I left for Florida to visit a longtime friend who I first met when our husbands were both stationed at their first training squadrons. We had been hired to teach English at the same high school and had both been promised the head JV girls’ soccer coach position. Our first year at New Bern High School made us colleagues who were united in our distaste for the county’s decision that we needed (remedial) new teacher training; after all, my license was from Virginia, and hers was from New York. When there weren’t enough girls to field a full JV team, we were promoted/demoted to assistant varsity coaches, and our friendship blossomed as we navigated life together while our pilot husbands did whatever the Marine Corps told them to do.
Twenty years later, our husbands are still flying. Both have retired from the Corps, and both are employed by the same airline. Her family has expanded to two dogs, two cats, and a 15-year-old daughter. She’s still coaching, and I’m still teaching. She lives at sea level, and I can see the mountains from my porch; we’re both still figuring out what we want to do with our lives, and she
strong-armed coaxed me into flying down yesterday.
Because I’m having a crisis. Since I’m 45, I suppose I could call this a midlife crisis even though I’m not sure I want to live to the age of 90.
My girls are 17, almost-15, and 12 years old, but it feels like they are really 7 years, 15 years, and 12 months old emotionally. To paraphrase Olivia’s mother, they exhaust me.
The girls’ emotional and physical needs deplete my slim reserves of sanity, and Ryan’s recent two-week flying stint hasn’t allowed me much chance for rest. Essentially I’m a single parent, but my husband doesn’t appreciate it when I give myself this title. And though my parents are able to assist with carpools and chauffeur the girls to lessons and appointments, I still have many days where I dream of running away to a place where I have no responsibilities.
So I did. Run away, that is. And then I found myself writing emails this morning, calling to check on an errant child, and wondering what it would actually take to stop meddling in my children’s lives. The answer is that I have no idea.
For now I will make myself content with the company of Piper and Moose and another cup of coffee. I’ve gone for a run, I have a mindless book to finish before I tackle 1 Henry IV, and I’m at the mercy of someone else’s errands and to-do list. In all, it looks like a promising day.