Can I let you guys in on a little secret: Being a band wife can really suck sometimes. I may be getting a little salty again but I just found out that The Husband will be out of town the same weekend as The Daughters ballet recital, this recital is always poorly timed with The Husbands band schedule. Last year he made it there by the skin of his teeth, the night before the band left to go up north to play a marathon that started way earlier than anyone sane would get out of bed for a smoke and a pancake, let alone a run. Apparently, you need entertainment when you run also, so they make the entertainer get up even earlier. He got home just in time to shower and meet us at the auditorium to watch The Daughter dance. Unfortunately, this was our first pony show and we hadn’t realized it was a two-hour phantasmagoria full of uncoordinated tumbles and plie’s, The husband slept through all of it. I nudged him awake long enough to see the two minutes The daughter was actually on stage, then he was back to snoring. We even sat in the balcony seats alone, so he wasn’t being a disturbance; I have learned from previous encounters with the sleeping beast (sitting front and center at our early Saturday morning marriage class was a terrible idea, older and wiser now).
I have a million stories like this, our first wedding anniversary, the first time our son went over night to aunties, was celebrated at a porch party… where he had to play all night. Our third was spent in the cockroach motel for two nights attached to the bar he played at for those two nights (it was ‘all inclusive’ in a small up north town, population: 103). He’s missed parties, weddings, sports events, the list goes on and on. Cats in the Cradle makes him cry now. But I can’t complain, I won’t complain (I know, I know, I just did). I get the security of knowing he will come home safe, that it’s his choice and we have the security of knowing and trusting he would choose not to plan on big event nights. This isn’t their graduation and he was there for their births and baptisms. There are a lot of spouses out there that don’t have these luxuries or choices. Also, I know at the end of every day he is dedicated to his family, we at least get a phone call or text, and I know he is able to do what he loves, and do it not only for himself but for us.
We broke the news to The Daughter over pizza, to soften the blow. She went into a “Oh, sure, you want to go to your band more than you want to see your only daughter in ballet” then we all sang that dreaded song together, silver spoons and such, then had a good laugh. No, seriously, that actually happened. You see, I know that it isn’t perfect and The Husband can’t be there for everything, the kids don’t like it, I don’t like it, and he doesn’t like it, but we make it work. I lay in bed writing and I can hear the giggles coming from the living room, our babies wrestling with Dad. I know that yes, it is hard when he is gone but when he is here, he is fully here and such a huge part of our lives. I have learned to make it work and there are things we do to keep the kids, and our, attitudes positive.
No matter how frustrated I get I never let even a grumble slip from my lips (in front of the kids, at least). I support The Husband with or without the children. When I talk positive, I feel positive. When our children hear me praising their father, not complaining about his absenteeism, they will grow up knowing that even though their father wasn’t always physically there, he was always with us. We take the kids to shows. I have an “outside” rule, the kids can come to the outside shows: fairs and festivals (all ages obviously). I did take them to an indoor venue once but it was so loud and dark and I can be a nervous mom, it didn’t go well. When they can see what we do they can take pride in their parents, they know how much work Dad puts into this and they can look up to him. When we can’t get to a show, I always try to give them something to look forward to even if it is a ‘sister/cousin’ sleep over or they get to share my bed and Netflix with me all night. Obviously we instill our love for music in our children also, so they can understand what Dad is doing is really cool. Luckily we have an amazing support system with grandparents, aunts and uncles who all live close by also. They all love what we are doing and help out when needed. All these things we do and the help and support we get keep us well rounded and grounded, makes our marriage stronger, and gives our children a healthy and happy childhood.