The Captain is about to board the red-eye flight from California. He left us Wednesday for a Thursday meeting, and will fly back overnight so he can be home all day Friday. He hates traveling, but he promised he would do a presentation, so he logged 6000 miles in less than three days. He's that kind of guy.
The Captain doesn't travel often, but when he does, I ping-pong between feeling resentful and relaxed. I've been trying to tease out the reasons for both reactions, because neither is logical. I do recognize that on busy days, when I spend all afternoon shuttling children, and all night wrangling them toward homework or bed, I resent not having his help.
In my mind, my job is the more difficult one. Therefore, I think the Captain should come home after his thirteen hour work day and provide immediate assistance. After all, my work isn't done until all the pack members go to bed, which is pretty frakking late for the teenagers. Seriously; at the end of the day I tell them to just go away, because I'm tired of sharing my air.
I wrote "in my mind," because I have only passing knowledge of what the Captain's job entails. If I had just walked out of Penn Station, was lucky enough to hail the Cash Cab, and I could win all the money simply by knowing my husband's work address and title, I would leave empty-handed. Oh, I know what avenue he works on, and that's he's a vice-president, but I couldn't tell you the fine-print deets without checking his business card.
Why not? We don't talk about his job in great detail. This isn't for lack of interest on my part; it's more that I know he doesn't want to re-hash his day when he finally gets home. He would prefer to relax. Which is amusing, considering what goes on here. And which is why, conversely, my evenings are often more relaxed when he's away.
When the Captain is home, there is a general push to get everyone in bed, so we can spend some time together. Really, it's usually just to sit on the couch and watch a show we both enjoy. But, I kid you not, the moment my ass meets the leather, the boys come out of the woodwork. There must be some change in the chi that they subconsciously recognize, which alerts them I've stopped moving. This mixes with some Oedipal undercurrent that detects I am with another man. Suddenly, I'm surrounded by penii, which, in turn, provokes a response from the Captain, along the lines of, "God Bless America (or, dependent upon the age of the interloper, something more colorful), I just sat down with my wife! I get one hour a night with her, and you're infringing on my time! I had her first!"
The weird thing is, when the Captain's not here, the kids couldn't care less about me. The big boys just hide in their rooms until I tell them to go to bed. Then I tell them again thirty minutes later, and thirty minutes after that they actually go to sleep. There's less drama, because I'm not trying to spend time with the Alpha Penis. Guy behavior is funny.
None of this will come into play tomorrow, when we have a wee amount of alone time before the kids intrude. In the hurly-burly of daily life, it's easy to forget that we had each other first. And now that I've purged some of my jumbled negativity all over you, dear readers, I remember that. For all that he does for our family, I love my Captain. Even if I still don't know his job title.