If you are married to aviation…errr…I mean someone in aviation (is there a difference?) you know that it definitely affects many every aspect of your daily lifestyle. From where you live (about a zillion miles from anyone you actually know) to your newfound ability to single-handedly deal with the venomous snake curled up on your patio at midnight when you walk the dog (not that I know), thank you very much, aviation life!
A huge part of that lifestyle is juggling the holidays…or should I say, the lack thereof. I wrote a piece over Christmas addressing how to make the most of the holidays when your life partner is not home to celebrate with you. I could just copy and paste that same article for every single holiday under the sun and simply change the holiday moniker. It is always and forever a delicate balancing act. Holidays, quite simply, are fluid. They happen…when they happen (if they happen!).
And that’s okay, friends.
Because holidays are not about the date on the calendar but rather about celebrating with the ones you love. And boy do we love those guys! If that means celebrating a week early…or late…then own it. Embrace it. Be okay with it. And celebrate not celebrating! Say what?!
I call them the ‘pilot wife holidays’. There’s the ‘holiday’, the actual date upon which everyone else in the known universe celebrates said day, and then there’s the ‘pilot wife holiday’, the date he comes home and we actually get to celebrate as a family!
In my early days as a pilot wife, I used to stress about the holidays. I thought we had to conform to the hard numbers on the paper. I saw everyone else enjoying the ‘holiday’, and my heart was filled with sadness and overwhelming loneliness because I wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong. We handle this life and deal well with it, but on those days, when everyone else is posting those happy, smiley, couple selfies, those days when the world says we are ‘supposed’ to be together but we don’t get to be? It’s just plane hard. Especially in the beginning.
However, as I have grown older (oh, so much older) I have realized something spectacular. Sometimes pilot wife holidays are actually better than the hard date. Like Valentine’s Day! My pilot has not been home on a single Cupid Day (that I can remember, though I am old) in the last nearly two decades of our aviation adventure. And I’m okay with that. More than okay. Because Pilot Wife Valentine’s Day is waaaaaaay better!
So for all of you who are, like me, doing Valentine’s the good ol’ aviation way this year (i.e. alone), here are six pretty awesome reasons you can be okay with it too and celebrate not celebrating on the normal people ‘holiday’.
1. Half-priced chocolate. I mean, seriously. Need I say more? If you wait until after the day that the rest of the world celebrates, you will be rolling in twice the chocolate heaven…for half the price! Shoot, you can probably even treat yourself to a nice long soak in a bathtub full of hot chocolate or give yourself a Hershey’s facial. Hey, don’t judge. And if you wait another week…75% off, baby! Oh, and flower prices will go back to normal from those ridiculous jacked up ‘love’ prices too. Nobody on first year pay can afford all that jazz! The week after, you can have your chocolate…and teddy bear too.
2. No wait. As in, restaurant wait that is! My friends are always posting their sweet, lovey couple selfies…while waiting at Texas Roadhouse for three hours for a table. Ummm….no thank you? When my husband comes home on the next random Tuesday at 3 p.m., we will literally be the only ones in the steakhouse. And I am so okay with that. I hate crowds and I hate waits. Win-win. Also, empty theaters, empty skating rinks, empty river walks, empty hiking trails, empty whatever the heck you want to do. Because all those other fools will be working…and you will be celebrating not celebrating. Just you and your fly guy in the back row of an empty theater doing whatever old married lovebirds do in the back row during a romantic comedy (which basically means eating the 75% off chocolate that I smuggled in while he snores loudly next to me).
3. You can actually find and afford a sitter. If you happen to have children and you want to get a sitter so you can dine out or catch a flick on the day… HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! I wish you all the luck in the universe. Because you almost need to book those sitters two-three months out…aaaaaaaaaaaand we all know his schedule does not come out that soon. And then changes anyway. And then changes anyway. And then changes anyway. Did I mention that it will probably change? But! On Pilot Wife Valentine’s, you will have them beating down your door for work because they are not doing anything (and everyone else has already spent all of their extra money on holiday chocolate and won’t be affording another date for awhile). Not to mention that you can eat and watch a movie in half the time that it takes on the holiday with those crazy crowds, which means paying that sitter for a lot less time with the gremlins. Sounds like two dates for the price of one to me!
4. Those hidden treasures. If your sweetie does happen to leave you a gift hidden somewhere in the house (or in your luggage), you know he/she had to put some real, consorted effort into it. He can’t just stop off at one of those convenient roadside vendors and grab a balloon and some candy on the way home from the office. You know he didn’t ‘remember’ last minute when he saw a stack of cards at the checkout at the liquor store. He actually had to put some thought into this whole thing days or even weeks in advance. I don’t know about you, but it just seems sweeter that way. Like he actually had to think of thinking of me. I like that.
5. Because you love one another. The world tells us we ‘have’ to celebrate our love on ‘this’ day or else. So millions of people do. And seriously, that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying it; lot’s of people do. But when you make plans and spend some one-on-one time together on a Pilot Wife Holiday, well…it’s better. You are doing it, not because the world says ‘today is the day’, but because you want to. Because you crave time together. Because you love one another. Love is something to celebrate – every single day of your life. Who needs a holiday?
6. He loves you. The reason your pilot is not home is because…well, he loves you! Ironic, right?! But true. He is out there working hard because he wants to provide you with a great life. He enjoys being able to give you, his beautiful bride, the things your heart desires. So instead of loudly bemoaning the fact that he is not home (and making him feel like he has failed you in some capacity), tell him how thankful you are that he loves you enough to work hard for your family. Valentine’s Day is about love, after all, and there is nothing a man does that says he loves his special someone more than working hard for her. That is what the holiday is all about, real, enduring love.
If you are doing the alone thing today, don’t let it get you down. You are not alone. Your aviation sisters all around the world are not celebrating with you! I just wanted to offer you a little encouragement today. You are doing okay, sister!
Turn off your screen (those couple selfies are depressing!) and go do something nice for yourself. Take a bath and have a glass of wine. Treat yourself to a chapter of a book (because your kids might not let you get any further than that). Watch your fave chick flick. Schedule an event with the girls and spend some time with other Pilot Wives. And celebrate not celebrating.
Because we have amazing husbands, and that is something totally worth [not] celebrating!
I love you, aviation family. Happy Pilot Wife Valentine’s Day…whenever that might be for you.
~Angelia (a very loved Pilot Wife)
Just Winging It: Prayers for My Pilot Wife (autographed)
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