I don't recall longing for my father while he was at work. I knew he would return, and looked forward to that. Memory is wrapped up in so many senses. For whatever reason, I always recall if the sun was shining or not, when looking back through time. If the leaves were green. If the cicadas were deafening that hot September night. Whether or not my Dad had shaved before leaving the firehouse. If he smelled like soap or smoke. His bear hugs, and laugh. The happy return. That is what stands out in my mind. Not the sad departure.
And my mother's relief. It was palpable. Our family unit, back together, safe. It always felt safe. I keep trying to put my self in the girls heads. How this separation will be for our family. How it will feel for them. What they will take through time from this. 6 months is a long time. Way longer than the 48 hour shifts that are my only point of reference. I fear the tension in my head that I know will come along with this. And the sadness, and the loneliness, and the fear.
But I am beginning to really welcome the good in this. Not just financial relief. That is, after all, why we are doing this. I want my girls to see their mother differently. Maybe a little lighter. Not always being the heavy. Not always saying no. I want the girls to see that I am capable of not just being their mother. But I can pick up the slack, and hold down the fort, and wear all of the hats, and every other cliche you can think of. I want them to know that I am capable of being so much more to them, than just this one role that I have cast myself as. I want us to get through this, and maybe, not be so sad about our time apart. I want us to enjoy our time together.
Maybe they can look back at this with a couple of really good memories. And a feeling of knowing they were safe.
And one happy reunion.