I was reminded this week that I am not so great at dealing with the unexpected when there are high emotions involved.
I’m a very plan ahead and stay on top of things kind of person by nature. But I have adapted pretty well over the years and come a long way in this area. Something about having three kids, living in a third world country, not having a set income and being married to Mr. “Keep Your Options Opened”. So by now, I’d consider myself to be pretty darn flexible. I can roll with the punches. I face schedule changes and unexpected twists several times every day without flinching.
So here comes the story. On Monday morning, we told Nathan goodbye and went through our regular send-off routine and rituals and he headed off for two weeks to Africa. He was technically going to some meetings in Dallas all day on Monday and then would fly out Tuesday morning from there. But this was our final goodbye. So we thought.
Around noon on Monday, I got a call from Nathan. Bless his heart. He was super thrilled to get to tell me that he forgot his passport at home. So he would be coming back home that night since obviously he couldn’t fly out without it.
I almost immediately said “Do we know anyone that might be driving to Dallas to bring it to you?” Because even though I couldn’t explain it, that seemed like the best option. But he said he was already on the way back home.
And at that point I realized that I was irritated. What? I was IRRITATED. That my husband was coming home. Makes a lot of sense, right?
I guess it showed, because he said, “Well it sounds like you aren’t going to be glad to see me.” And we both laughed. And sure, I was glad that he would be there for the band concert and the softball game and the tough parental conversation that needed to be navigated with one of the kids that night. I was glad I didn’t have to do that stuff alone. I was glad that he would be right there beside me in the bed that night. But yep. Still somehow there was no denying that I was feeling irritated.
Because we already did goodbye. I was a good ways down that road of all those emotions, and now I was supposed to just instantly back up and redo? How do you do that? This compares, but on a much smaller scale, to the feeling that you get when someone you love is dying and you say your final goodbyes to them. And then there is this miraculous turnaround and suddenly they don’t die and are right there talking to you normally again. And your emotions say “HOLD UP. WHAT IS HAPPENING? WE ARE SO CONFUSED RIGHT NOW THAT WE ARE FROZEN.” And that makes you irritated, so you tell your husband that since he wasn’t supposed to be home, you didn’t make enough dinner for him. But then in the next breath, you find something for him to eat and give him a hug. You accept the confusing and awkward, live in the moment and love his presence.
And then you do goodbye again the next morning.