I have this space here to where I "record" life's happenings, my thoughts of life's happenings, and the great (and even the not so great) memories of life. It's kinda' became my scrapbook as well as my journal and today, I write...
Justin has been doing work of some sort or the other for the power company for over 13 years now. He's cleared the right of way for the power company and now he is a Lineman. Sometimes it is a part of his job to help restore power when a major storm hits. He's had to travel, not consistently as a regular part of his schedule (thank the Lord), but still enough to where it's became a part of our lives. Sometimes he travels a couple of times a year, sometimes more and maybe sometimes less. Anyhow, today I feel like "journaling" a part of what it's like for us when he is away.
As I type this, my husband is setting a power pole in Kentucky. I felt it appropriate to take a photo and include it here of the letter I wrote to him last night (not the actual words of the letter, as that is only between me and him), but a photo of the notepad that the letter is written on to show and remember this part of our lives (as letters have also now apparently became a part of our lives). How does this work, you may ask? What happens when your husband is called out for major storm work? Well...here is a "rundown" of the basics. My husband usually receives a call and he is told to pack his bags as he is on stand-by for major storm work. He will be told when to report to the lot (if he has to report to the lot at all, sometimes they just end up packing their bags and then a day later be told that it is not necessary for them to go anywhere so he gets to unpack and not go anywhere). Upon him having to report to the lot he will then be told if and where he is needed to go (usually out of state). My husband has been to many different places (some that I've seen, but some that I have yet to see, but hope to see one day). He's been to Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts and the list goes on. Anyhow, he then goes to work at the location he is assigned, working long hours (last night...early this morning rather, around 12AM Midnight, we were talking on the phone as he was just then getting ready for bed after a long day). It usually does no good for me to ask when he will be coming home, because he don't know until they release him. Yes, sometimes I will go a week or two and not even know (until he is released from the job he is on) when my husband will be coming home. My days are usually filled with some point during the day of a little boy's cries wanting to see his dad and our daughter asking at some point when will her dad be here. Not knowing when we will see him is the hardest I think. I've had to console my child as our son was laying in bed at night crying for his dad, his teachers and Breann would have to console him at school as he would sometimes during Justin's work trips cry for his dad there too, and this round he cried on the way to school this morning, so he had to call his dad and check in with him. I think the phone call made him feel at least some better!
Anyhow, as I write this I think of the many times and how many memories my husband has lost and how little recognition and appreciation many give to people in his situation (I even find myself guilty of this sometimes, as to be honest, I find myself literally in tears and aggravated more so at the situation that he has to leave our family yet again to work). There are things that Justin has missed that he won't be able to get back. I am not saying this because he is a poor person, a poor dad, or a poor husband. I'm saying this because, even though I honestly wish he wouldn't have to travel, he (and those in his position) deserves some form of recognition for everything they do and what they've had to sacrifice. While most (even some who read this) probably think, big deal, he's just doing his job, that's not how we look at it. We look at it as time with our family lost. While his job is a blessing (because it puts food on the table and a roof over our heads), the time he is away is not a blessing. Justin missed our son's first Christmas, he's missed other holidays as well...New Years, Valentine's Day, Fourth of July, a week at the county fair, some of our kids' school activities, etc. Again, I am not saying this because he is a bad person or a bad dad, it's exactly the opposite, he has sucked it up (more so than me, to be honest) without complaining, and did his job and provided for our family.
Last night when I wanted to talk to my husband, I pulled out a notepad to write what I wanted to say, because we only usually get to talk well under 30 minutes every single day until he comes home. It has gotten better with technology. Sometimes we get to video chat, we used to not have the ability to even do that, but it's still not the same as having him home.
While he's away I have growing concerns of how I will handle something if it breaks that he would normally fix if he was here. I feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility. While I already have a lot on my plate, I sometimes, to be honest, feel that I have more on my plate than I can handle when he is away, because I have to also do what he would normally do here. I definitely feel a sense of appreciation for everything he does around here when he isn't here to do it!
My husband has driven toward hurricanes while others were driving away from them, he's worked in the bitter cold to the point that his hands and feet would crack from being so cold, he's slept in his truck before because all of the hotels would be full, and he's spent time away from his family that he will never be able to get back. I recall many people complaining about not getting their power on soon enough, while these same people don't realize what the people who work in my husband's position are doing so that they will have power. It's a fast paced world and people (sometimes myself included) are guilty of wanting what they want at the instant they want it and never realize what sacrifices others make so that they can have some conveniences in life. There are other people who show their gratitude and seem to try to realize what it is like for those who work long hours, away from their homes and families, so they can have the lives they have grown accustomed to.
While writing letters to my husband make me feel like I'm in high school again (it's a good thing), I don't think I'll ever be able to say that I love the traveling part of his job though. What mother could honestly say she likes to see her son cry because he don't know when his dad will be home? Not a one should honestly be able to say that, I certainly don't like it! I really can not stand him being away on some holidays, and I can't say that I like carrying all of the responsibility around here while he is sometimes thousands of miles away. I can say, however, I am thankful for a hard working husband. Justin provides for our family, and I'm grateful. I don't think he likes being away from home, but he does it because he is responsible and does what's expected of him.
Tonight, I'll write another letter, I'll talk to him for about 10 or 20 minutes on the phone, I'll reassure our kids that he is one day closer to coming home when they ask "when will dad be back," because I honestly don't know when to expect him back, and I'll be grateful. Yes, I'll be thankful for a hard working husband, one that still takes the time out of his very, very long day to call me just to say hi, and for the roof that his hard work puts over our heads.