I miss you today.
I miss having a backup. Trial and error on the part of our children has firmly established the statistical intersection that defines the end of my work day and their conversion from pleasant, compliant school children into whining noncompliant machines that demand Cheetos for dinner. “What would Daddy say?” is just wearing itself out. I am my own woman now, and clearly, I’m not woman enough.
Speaking of backup, I miss your back rubs. You probably don’t remember how spoiled I am. Jason and Chad do a pretty good job over at the massage place, but it’s really not the same. I don’t have to beg and plead and promise things. I miss that. Does that make you want to come home a little sooner?
I miss your stupid sayings. I miss “Funny like weird, or funny like ha ha?” when I remark that something looks funny. I miss “Just leave that right there” when I drop something. It still happens a lot by the way. Sometimes I just say it to myself out loud, because it seems like the right thing to do. I miss seeing you flee from the room shouting over your shoulder, “Mommy tooted!” Really, I do. I miss hearing you say “schmecks gut” at the dinner table even when all I did was throw paper plates, bread, and two jars of peanut butter and jelly on the table.
I miss watching you play. The kids and I come home, and you’re not there waiting for a hug or a snuggle or a wrestle or a tickle. I try to give the kids a little tickle monster action, but it’s just not the same. I don’t have painfully accurate pillow-throwing precision or super-fast percussive fingers for tummy drumrolls. And my zerberts kinda suck. You would not be impressed. I think I slobber too much because they are way messier than I remember.
I miss having clean laundry. I especially miss clean underwear in my drawer. I am so tired of foraging through the clean pile, the other clean pile, and the dryer looking for a single pair of underwear. I know you told me not to tell your big Navy Seal and Marine Recon and Army Green Beret dudes, but they should really know that you do the laundry around here, because it’s an admirable job. I can say that now because I’ve had to do it for a whole 120 days. For this alone I should be getting hazard pay.
I miss winks. Not real winks, but the less obvious eye-squint kind of winks that accompany a look and a tilt of the head. The look that would be a wink if you were being just a little more obvious. Because you’re not obvious. It’s the look you give when someone says or does something that we both think is inappropriately hysterical. Or sweet.
And I miss soft voices. The childrens’ voices are so darn loud, so rambunctious, so persistent, and so piercing most of the time. They’re exhausting. Work voices are argumentative or serious or detailed. So freaking detailed. Girlfriend voices are so chatty and backgroundy and constant. My own voice? Yeah, that runs all the time to fill the silence. But it’s just an overplayed script where I know what’s coming next. I miss waiting to hear your soft voice, the one you use at the end of the day, when it’s just you and me.
I miss your bedtime prayers and stories. I miss finding you asleep in a child’s room. I miss seeing Sweet Pea perched on the edge because her Daddy takes up the whole bed, both of you sleeping with a big smile. I miss that. And it gets harder and harder when little eyes look up at me and ask how many days have passed, how many more days to go. They beg me to tell stories about how you and I met, or what you did as a boy, or what you’re doing now. And I think about all the things I don’t know about you. I think about all the things I’m going to ask when you get home.
And it gets harder when they hug tighter and tighter and longer and longer. And I hug harder, too.
I know you are missing all of this, times three. So much more.
But today, I just miss you. Today, I wanted you to come home.