Thursday, June 10, 2010
Where are You Right Now? and What are You Doing?
The Sprout household is wilting. Pappa Sprout has been gone from home for most of the last month and a half. Our leaves are drooping. He'll be back to visit on Monday, but my heart knows we won't really have him back until October.
Of all of us in the house, Little Sprout wears her sadness most publicly these days. She cries and stomps and throws something across the room declaring, "I miss Daddy!"
"I know, honey. We all do." I console.
Then when she gets her dad on the phone she consistently and predictably asks him, "Where are you right now?"
Every single time she talks to him she asks him where he is. I want to ease the phone from her and tell her, no one really knows where he is right now. The daddy you are missing won't be back for a while.
He has been in that "working" place, increasingly since April. It's the place that deadens his smile and changes his posture. With the approach of opening weekend, he has been pulled further and further from us, and Little Sprout knows it. Saturday marks the opening of the Renaissance Festival, and although I know the difficult preparatory work will be done, I know too well that my husband's focused work will only barely fade after the last cannon fires.
It's not that he doesn't want to be with us...or there for us...he does. He just has so many responsibilities and demands that his emotional energy cannot be on us. I'm seasoned. We've navigated this ridiculous schedule for fourteen years, and even though the spiral is predictable, it doesn't mean I have to like it. I can hardly expect the smaller sprouts in this house to like it either.
I don't ask him where he is, but I do ask, "What are you doing right now?" I try to conceal my increasing worry about his welfare. He does too much, in my opinion. His answers this week have been, "I'm moving hay bales." , "I'm raking sand.", "I'm shopping for food.", "I'm rebuilding a game.", "I'm scrubbing a fryer.", "I'm doing contracts in my office." "I'm running orientation.", "I'm meeting with the fire inspectors."
"Did you eat lunch today?" I ask at 2:00 his time. "How much sleep did you get?" I ask each morning because he sounds more and more tired each time he calls the kids before school.
The phone conversations have gotten shorter (three minutes tonight) because I hope he'll actually get more sleep and I don't really want to know the answers to my questions this time of year. He's so tired, he'll barely remember whether I asked him or not.
I'm missing his side of the conversation. So, I'll pretend he has time to ask me the burning questions, "Where are you?" he would ask. "Oh, I'm sitting at my computer," I would answer. "What are You Doing?" he would wonder. "I'm missing my husband," I'd sadly reply.