47: Dad’s Away

47: Dad’s Away

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Wives

Dad’s Away

By Kimberly Porrazzo

“May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other…”

~Genesis 31:49

My husband left us. It’s not what you think. A rare business trip took him away for only five days, but during that week of solo parenting, I got a good taste of life as a single mom.

Of course, I thought about him often. The cold and rainy night I had to lug all four of our trashcans to the curb, I was really wishing he was here. When a convention of spiders appeared in our home, I missed him. And whatever it was that was clinking around in my kitchen sink disposal would do so until he got home because there was no way I was reaching into that black hole.

Yes, I missed him. But after twenty years of marriage, I admit I also felt a sense of freedom. For an entire week, I didn’t put away any of my curlers, brushes or make-up. I luxuriated in using both the sinks in our master bath and spreading my girl stuff everywhere.

Our queen-size bed — the one I insisted upon early in our marriage because I wanted to “be close” — suddenly felt like the king-size he had always wanted.

And I didn’t even think twice about the flannel nightgown.

But the novelty started to wear off after a week of carting both our boys everywhere by myself. I felt it most while checking the locks and turning out the lights before bed.

Apparently, it wasn’t just me. As I was helping gather equipment for my younger son’s Little League game, he looked at me with a concerned expression and said, “I don’t feel like we’re going to win today because one of our key people isn’t going to be there.” He said it with a seriousness that made me listen more closely.

“Who isn’t coming?” I asked, trying to guess which of the team’s pitchers or best hitters might be absent.

“Dad’s not going to be there,” he said quietly.

With those words, I was reminded again how important my husband is to this family. “He’ll be there in spirit” seemed like an empty promise.

That evening, as I was expecting him to walk in the door, he called. His flight had been canceled due to mechanical problems, and he was to be on another flight that took him through Dallas and on to LAX. He would be home late.

Dozing to the TV while waiting up for him, I was abruptly awakened by a special report of “breaking news.” A plane had crashed — something about LAX — and eighteen people were thought to have perished.

Blinking through sleepy eyes, the adrenaline rush kicked in just in time for me to hear the rest of the report. It became clear this was not the plane my husband was on. Relief swept over me as quickly as the panic that had hit me. As I counted my blessings, it occurred to me that this was the plane that carried someone else’s husband. And her husband wouldn’t be coming home to take out the trash or kill the spiders anymore.

When my husband arrived home at 1:30 A.M., we kissed the quick hello of a tired couple married twenty years and headed upstairs to sleep. As I snuggled up to him and drifted peacefully off to sleep, I smiled, remembering why I wanted that queen-size bed so many years ago.

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