As I write this, Sarah is cruising at 30,000 feet over Indiana. She’s en-route to Chicago, then Phoenix to spend 6 days with Drew’s mother at a conference. We woke up early this morning to get her to the airport, then for me to get Shelby to school and myself on to work.
For the next week, I’m back to basics. I’m effectively a “single father” in the sense that it’s my sole responsibility to make sure Shelby is taken care of, the clothes are washed, the lawn is mowed, and the bills are paid. Sarah has been here for almost 2 years now, and as time has progressed, her and I have become more and more of a team.
I won’t lie, having Sarah making sure that I knew when Shelby’s after-school activities were, or making sure that we had some food pulled out of the freezer for the next few days is nice in more ways than one. It’s funny, really. We have become so “in-tune” that she doesn’t trust me to be able to take care of myself and Shelby for a few days on my own.
I take no offense at her reassuring herself. I would do the same thing if it were me on that plane right now. It’s not really a lack of confidence...far from it...it’s a sign of how deeply she cares and just wants to make sure “we’re good”.
At least, that’s how I’m reading it now. I can’t help but remember every time that Megan would have an upcoming hospital stay. She would do the same thing. She’d make sure every “T” was crossed and “I” was dotted. That I knew, up to the minute, where Shelby needed to be and what she was to eat. If there was medication or anything else to be picked up somewhere, Megan made damned sure that SHE knew I would be waiting at the store when they opened.
Back then, I took it as somewhat insulting. I had been living on my own since age 17. I had deployed to multiple places around the world, had a good career, where I travelled even more, and I owned a home and paid the bills on time. Why would she have so much doubt in my abilities when she was “just up the road” for a few weeks? Of the dozens of times she spent a few weeks in the hospital, I don’t recall the house burning down or Shelby starving to death with her apparently incapable father.
I’ll tell you what, being widowed, for even a few days, certainly changed my perspective on what Megan was really “worried” about, and it has carried forward to Sarah’s departure. I have personally never had a doubt in my own abilities to parent Shelby, and I know Sarah doesn’t either. She’s simply being considerate, and showing love and care for us, knowing she can’t be here to help for a time. She knows that the running around, the household chores, the dinners and breakfasts, and ensuring bedtimes are enforced are normally a team effort, and that I will be shouldering it solo. It’s not a burden...it’s merely a little bit more work, and I know that she’s only trying to ensure our happiness.
Megan was doing the same. She wasn’t untrusting or worried that everything would fall apart when she left for the hospital. She didn’t even fear that her own death would cause our lives to be in shambles any more than a few days. She just wanted to make sure that we were happy, healthy, and loved, when she couldn’t be there to contribute to it herself.