And just like that, Josh is gone again.
We had the most amazing week, and I'm so glad he came...
but waking up Monday without him again?
Brutal. Just brutal.
Sunday was the most wonderful day. Truly idyllic. We spent a slow morning bathing the boys, then Josh started making homemade pizza for all of us for lunch. We ate his (insane, amazing, crazy-good) pizza while watching the Seahawks (Go Hawks!) play the Cowboys, all the boys (and Josh) matching in their jerseys. It was precious. Josh got me a shirt too when he was out getting pizza ingredients. I love that he's so thoughtful & wanted me to feel included.
For most of the afternoon all of us were smashed together on the couch downstairs, enjoying pizza and the occasional bite-size candy bar from Halloween. It was, in a word, perfection.
But before we knew it, the game ended, dinner time was approaching, and the end of our week together was rapidly coming.
We took the boys out to eat (at Red Robin) as we had promised and we had a great dinner. I was glad the boys were well behaved and all went well at the restaurant because as our time together was coming to a close, I could feel the lump in my throat getting bigger by the minute.
I had held it together all morning until I saw my toothbrush. Alone. In the holder. All week I so enjoyed watching our toothbrushes co-mingle in that glass jar.
After dinner we came home and put the kids to bed, and the waterworks really started for me.
Watching Josh hug and kiss each of the boys one last time ripped my heart wide open. I had predicted that I would miss Josh, the boys would miss Josh and Josh would miss me. My brain had neglected to think of Josh missing the boys after a week with them constantly at his side. Seeing him crawl into Wyatt's bed for some last snuggles was the most tender, heart wrenching thing I'd seen all week.
And even once we had laid them down & Josh had said his goodbyes, Logan got up again, claiming he "heard" something (which he often says) and as I was assuring him there was nothing, he admitted that really he was sad about Daddy leaving. So I walked him back into our room, where he collapsed into Josh's arms sobbing. I stood behind them, silently sobbing as I snapped this most precious picture. This being apart stuff? It's just the worst.
As I cried later, I apologized to Josh. He hugged me and said, "It's okay to be sad. This is a sad thing." That permission to feel to my feelings, to cry and feel heartbroken was just what I needed.
About an hour later, after all the kids fell asleep, Josh said goodbye to his parents and we drove to the airport. When we got there we parked the car real quick and hugged, me crying semi-hysterically into his shoulder. He gathered his things and we said "I love you" one last time as he walked by the passenger side of the car. Then, against every part of my body, I drove away as he walked into the Alaska terminal.
The drive home was awful. It feels so wrong to drive away from him. Every time. I just have to do it. I cried harder than I probably have in my entire life on that drive back to the house. I know that sounds dramatic, but it's true. I was thinking about this, how hard I cried, how awful it feels to exist without him by my side, and I've decided to accept my feelings as valid. When you love someone, it makes sense that you would hate to be away from them. When you love someone, it makes sense that you would want to spend your every day with them. When you love someone, it makes sense that saying goodbye hurts.
When I got home my eyes were on fire. But I am blessed to have a support system that is out of this world. My mom, sister and more friends than I can count were praying for me and thinking of us all day Sunday, so I fell into a deep and restful sleep shortly after returning from the airport.
Monday I woke up early and was in the boys room as they woke up. Jack seemed a bit melancholy. When I asked him what was up, he started crying. He missed daddy, he told me, and was upset that they never got to play baseball together. I thought dealing with my own emotions was hard, but I was wrong. Watching them be upset and not being able to do anything about it, that's hard.
This is the first time the boys have cried about Josh leaving, so this is new territory. My intention is to navigate it with as much kindness and understanding as possible. To acknowledge their emotions and validate their feelings. And just be here. Any time they want to talk.
The good thing is that we did it for three months already, and this time it'll only be two months. And we know from experience the first few weeks are the worst, and it gradually gets better as the countdown gets closer. In the meantime, we'll keep plugging along, taking it one day at a time.