Monday, October 20, 2008

We're Weird. (There, I said it.)

I wrote the following post a few weeks ago but never posted it. As I face a very difficult professional decision, I reread this post and decided to share it. Again, I'm not sure I've managed to verbalize what I want. . .

Our family situation is different than most. I enter this blog with some trepidation, fearing that I won't be able to say this as I want to (more so than with most posts. . .). If you've read my profile, you know Kevin works away from home. You may have wondered about this. So did we. We asked ourselves if this was really what Kevin needed to do, if this was what God had in mind. We prayed, I fasted over this decision. How could God take Kevin away from us? What sense did it make for a father to leave his children and go to work in Florida (at that time). God kept saying, "wait, just wait." I began to feel Him working on both of us. It still makes no sense to most people (and to us, if we're honest) that the father of my children is gone more often than he's home. That said, let me tell you a little something about our life prior to Kevin's change of career.

I have spent more nights falling asleep by myself than with my husband. Way more nights falling asleep alone. Kevin has worked nights since he was in college. There have been brief changes to this schedule, and he has worked many different schedules (3 1/2, 12 hour shifts; salary from 1 or 2 pm-ish to ?midnight or 1 am Tues-Sat, 3-12-ish different days of the week. . .the list goes on). We never saw him, and when we did, he was more concerned about catching up on his sleep or adjusting to being up during the day. We fought way more than we should. He felt guilty about not being with us. I made him feel guilty about being home with us. He worried about bringing home enough money to support us. (During part of this time, I was in graduate school, which means I contributed zilch to the income.)

Then, in 2006, we suffered such pain. Kev's step-sister lost her husband. Kev's dad passed away. Bad enough, right? Then, the crushing blow. Kevin's best friend was murdered. He was here one minute, with Kevin giving him a hard time about his job (they worked together). Then, he was gone. Dead, just like that. He left behind a wonderful wife and 4 beautiful, smart, funny kids. Slowly, as Kevin came out of this grief (Do we ever actually recover from grief? I'm not sure.), I began to see changes. Little ones at first, but they meant so much to me. He would take Kyler with him more. He would include me more. We would do stuff as a family.

During this time, things began to change at this job. He still worked with a great bunch of guys. Changes, as they are apt to do, were made that were not best for our family. He began to feel himself pulled in a different direction. He kept looking at different options. He talked to me about these options. I guess i should say that WE talked about these options. We had all the same questions that well-meaning friends and family have asked us repeatedly. "Why does he have to go so far?" "Has he thought about ______?" "What about ______________?" Couldn't he just ____________?"

I guess what I am trying to say is that our life is not be normal. It never has been. This current job situation is something that I wish will be temporary. I wish that some day, Kevin will be able to work close to home on an 8-5 or so job. However, until that time comes, we are satisfied (at least 90% of the time. . .) with the current situation. We currently get to see Kevin every weekend. When we do see him, he is all about family. He plays with the kids. He has more patience with them. He is tired, but he's on a "normal" schedule. It's something we can handle.

And those months in Florida? They taught me that I can do it. I may not do it well, and I can not do it without family and friend support, but I can exist without Kevin to depend upon. As for Kevin, he learned again just how important his wife and kids are to him. He values us more.

I did not write this post in an effort to elicit sympathy, etc, from anyone. It is my feeble attempt to explain my family's circumstances and the decisions we've made, with a great deal of caution and prayer, I might add.

Now, I pray that God will lead us and direct us as to the path He wishes us to take. I pray that I will truly give this over to Him and trust Him fully, in whatever path He leads us on.


Amy said...

My post and your post today hit the nail on the head...God is in control of each of our lives and when we trust Him to work out His will, the path may be different than anticipated, but it will be His nonetheless.

Rachel@just another day in paradise said...

amen, sister. If y'all haven't read Amy's post, read it. It was one of the reasons I decided to go ahead and post this.

Elizabeth said...

We've made decisions that no one else understood, too. It's hard not to feel like you have to explain and justify your personal choices, at least for me. But with God's leading things have always worked out just as they are supposed to!

Your family is so blessed to have each other and to have the time you do on the weekends. You make the most of it and obviously enjoy it. It sounds like you are just where you should be!

Steph at The Red Clay Diaries said...

Honestly? I never thought you were weird. I've lived through enough "didn't make sense to anyone but us" decisions to give others the benefit of the doubt on that.

Plus, your situation doesn't sound much different than that of a military wife or a trucker's wife or a hunter's wife or a fisherman's wife or the wife of any man over the centuries who's had to go out into the world to provide for his family.

The assumption that a dad would be home every night with his family is kind of a luxury of the 20th and 21st century USA.

I'm praying for your decision right now. That you'll have clarity and peace.