Soul Doubt: Another Lonely Night...(no offense, Son)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Another Lonely Night...(no offense, Son)

Lately, I've become sharply aware of just how lonely it is, night after night, while my husband works graveyard.

The routine is fairly straightforward: I make dinner, we sit down and eat; making smalltalk, watching Jameson rub his baby food in his hair, up his nose, practically everywhere but his mouth- laughter breaks the tension a bit, and I get up to brew a pot of coffee.

Tony'll pick up the boy and wipe the worst of the mess off, then cart him off into the living room so I can pack up his lunch box without a small child weaving and worming his way between my legs, tripping or entangling me at every opportunity. It's actually getting hazardous to open the refrigerator door while our son is in the kitchen- Jameson will lunge into the opening, plunging his chubby little hands into whatever's close, or, barring that, will yank condiments off the shelves in a fit of glee.

But night after night, come 6:45 or so, I've managed to pack up my husband's "lunch" (to be consumed at 3:00 in the morning; can you believe he actually has me enclose a little baggie of jalepenos, too?) and restore order to my little kitchen, then we all snuggle up on the loveseat- aptly named- for a family hug, and to complete our evening ritual.

He'll say, "Well, babies, I'm off," and with his black coveralls donned, his work boots laced up, and his wool cap pulled down over his ears, he heads for the door. I tell him to please drive safe and not work too hard. He promises yes he will and no he won't. We exchange 'I love you's, and I stand in the doorway until his taillights disappear from view. Then I heave a sigh, say something silly to the child cocked on one hip, and withdraw into the dubious warmth of our home.

I don't know why, over time, this is getting more difficult to do- both sending him off for the night, when it's a job in Spokane or the surrounding area, or sending him off for the week when he's in Montana or elsewhere. Either way, it's so hard to be apart, night after night.

Lately we've talked about a change of careers for him- the mine has reopened in Kellogg, and Tony worked there years ago. He's fairly confident he could get back on, but there would be quite a few drawbacks as well.

As disruptive as this current job is to our little family, the pay is damn good. So is the company- the owner is a fair, generous man. He would give Tony different hours if he could, but working at night kinda goes with the job- commercial refrigeration for Safeways, they don't want you underfoot in their coolers and freezers throughout the rush of the day. One day, if Tony continues to get promoted, he may be able to just do service calls exclusively, which would mean 9-5, but that's so far off in the horizon it may as well be a dream to us.

Mining is hard, thankless work, a hot steamy pit in the ground full of rocky dirt and grimy men digging deeper and deeper. Fraught with danger, too, I think, although Tony tries to persuade me otherwise. He can't quite argue the fact that both his father and grandfather died either directly or indirectly from Sunshine Mine- his grandpa in the big fire, his dad after an injury led to hospitalization, then a fatal medication error. So of course the pattern could continue, at least in my morbid fantasies.

The Silver Valley is beautiful, sure, but is it where I want to live? raise my young son? I'm not sure. All our family is here, as well as friends, our church, everything we know and love. It's kinda scary to think about just packing up and starting over. We've done that several times before in our relationship (and for me, countless times throughout my troubled life) and I was actually looking forward to staying put and putting down some roots for a change. Sigh.

So we're talking about it. I'm worrying about it. Jameson, thank God, is blissfully oblivious to all of it. And I will-for now- continue to spend night after lonely night here, alone, waiting for my man to make it home safe so I can put him in the bed I've just arisen from.

1 comment:

  1. What a poignant post. It doesn't feel right, sleeping alone, when you're used to someone beside you. Paul and I went through a "ships in the night" phase for a while when he was working two jobs (one a middle-of-the-night paper route) and it was one of the most stressful times for our marriage I can remember. I'll be praying for the decisions you're making!


Thanks for taking the time to read what I ramble about- I consider it an honor to get feedback from you guys, so please tell me what you think, feel, if you have a similar story... whatever you'd like! Thanks again and God bless.