It starts the night before. An anticipation of of new horizons. And as Shakespeare wrote "Once more into the breach. My friends Once more".
On Sunday night I begin counting the hours. I am filled with both exhilaration and remorse. Excitement and guilt tearing away at my soul. I'm almost giddy with the knowledge a plane will lift towards the heavens. Cruising at 30,000 feet and speeding like a bullet towards my next adventure.
Riddled with guilt and gut churning remorse I will again leave the ones who mean the most to me. The sadness, my kids feel chewing a hole through the middle of my soul. I want to stay. The resolve on my wife's face, tears me in half. I know I'm letting them down every time I must go away. Days lost and precious time that I will never recover. Knowing when I come home, I will again miss many firsts. Wishing I could stay.
As I approach security with boarding pass in hand all
i want to do is turn and run back to their waiting and eager
arms. Strengthened by their smiles and giddy laughter. Lifted on high by
But I know I must go. The gears in my head and heart turning over until my outward appearance is one of fortitude and strength. My inner armor comes up my energy starts to rise. Because until I come home, I will need all of my resolve. Because out there in the world if it detects even a hint of weakness, it'll grind you down. Chew you up and spit you out.
And once my armor is in place and my saddest is compartmentalized to a place that is now unreachable I can march on. Do the things that need to be done.
But when it's time to return my emotions start to bubble back to the surface. I can feel the pull of home. My life and alter ego begin to emerge. My only regret is having to pack and head to FedEx. Man, I hate to pack.
When I am at home, I am different. The days away start to slough off All of the shit I've had to deal with start to become a distant memory.
The laughter and hugs my kids give me begin to rebuild me. No longer am I the creature who roams the road. Now I'm a father and a husband. This feels better than the time on the road. I crave and yearn and live for every moment. Storing up the minute by minute memories because I know Sunday is just around the corner.
I never want to leave. I love taking them to school. Tucking them in at night. Seeing their faces first thing in the morning. Their energy knows no bounds. And all I want to do is love them and hold them.
But there is also my wife. Whom I adore and love beyond all measure. It takes time, but we start to reconnect slowly at first and then it speeds up. And I never want to be away from her again because I know I'm losing precious time with her too.
Both of us are all too aware of the constant ticking of the clock. I will the seconds to slow down. I want them to stop. To live a lifetime in the short hours we have left. I can see the strain and stress my time away has caused. But worse still I can see the stress of my impending departure is causing her. And I am again filled with grief and guilt.
Oh, how I want to stay home. But the pull of that distant horizon calls out to me. It starts as a whisper and just gets louder the closer to Monday morning gets. I am driven mad by the constant pull of two lives. Each of them are so different and demand so much of me. My heart's at home my head is out there roaming.
I wish I could make it different. The demons that live in all of us. Only you can decide the outcome. Mentally tough and force of will are the tools you must have at hand to make it through to the other side.
I have always said the road is a jealous mistress. Demanding on your time and energy. It's tough to keep her at bay.
But living a lifetime in a few days is just robbing my family of precious time. It's not fair to them. And the worst guilt of all is knowing they suffer more than I do when I am gone.
However, tomorrow it's a travel day. And when I get up I'll start counting the minutes until I'm home.
But between now and then there is still much to do. So until then I'll see you on the other side.