It was one of those parenting days. You know, the ones that make you want to hide in the closet with an entire case of wine and a gallon of ice cream and devour it all while pretending this isn’t really your life.
My child had decided to throw down in the middle of a crowded grocery store after an already long day of losing battles. “I hate you. Stop touching me. You’re huuuurting me! You’re not my mom!” Seriously though. Make that two gallons of ice cream.
Meanwhile, my dear husband was hundreds of miles away happily gallivanting through the clear blue skies oblivious of my angst as I wrestled a child demon in the middle of the bread aisle.
That’s when she came out of nowhere and offered up her plethora of unsolicited parental advice. “If that were my child…”
Yada, yada, yada.
“Ma’am,” I asked between clenched teeth, hoping my head did not explode right then and there and spatter her with what was left of my mommy brain, “exactly how many kids do you have again?”
“None,” she retorted tartly with a distasteful wrinkle of her pretty little nose. “But I do have a dog, and he’s like my child. And he behaves much better than that.”
Her opinionated advice held about as much water as a bucket with a few dozen shot gun shells blasted through it. Nada. Zip. None.
Why? Because who the heck was someone who’s never taken a single stumbling step in my exhausted, stepped-all-over, puked-on, my-husband-travels-for-weeks-at-a-time-and-I’m-about-to-lose-my-frigging-mind momma shoes to tell me how to momma?
I guarantee she had never had to drag her disgruntled toy poodle who had refused to nap that afternoon to the grocery store while sporting a killer migraine for an episode of desperation shopping because her husband would be coming home in three hours after 10 days away and the only thing left in the pantry was a half-used bottle of ketchup and a stroopwaffle.
Oops. Make that just ketchup. She fed the last stroopwaffle to Junior for breakfast because it was either that or, well, ketchup. Hypothetically speaking… of course.
In the same way as her blah blah blah was about as resonant as a clanging gong in my life at that particular moment, it’s just as equally hard to swallow the big fat opinionated advice pills about life as a pilot wife from those who’s husbands works a regular 9-5 shift.
Am I right, or am I right? Yeah, I’m right.
It’s not that [some] advice isn’t offered out of love and genuine concern, but it’s simply impossible to understand the pitfalls and nuances of life as a pilot wife (or spouse of any other long-traveling man) unless you’ve been through it.
So that brings us to me and the point of this post. You know the why of this blog, but in order for it to hold any jet fuel whatsoever you definitely need to know the who. Who the heck am I to have any opinions, stories, advice, or comments about the pilot life wife?
Well, my name is Angelia. My husband has been a pilot in some sense going on 15 years now. In a way, it’s actually my ‘fault’ he’s a pilot. On a day a looooong time ago (9/11) and a land far, far away (KS) he told me he had always regretted not ever following his dream of flying.
I told him, “Then let’s do it! It’s not too late! I’ll support you eeeeevery step of the way!” I know, right! What in the world was I thinking! Knowing what I know now, if I had to go back and do it all over again…I wouldn’t change a thing.
I promise you read that right. Sure it’s been hard at times. Really hard. And it’s been a long road strewn with challenges. But it’s also been strewn with joy. This is his passion and seeing him accomplish his dreams is worth every moment of the ride, including the bumps.
So from the moment of no return until now, we have seen the ins and outs of the aviation world–the best of it and the worst of it. Together we have experienced flight school, a pipeline job in a deathtrap 172, the airlines, freight carriers, private oil and gas, and now even a training department. We are practically aviation prostitutes we have been around the airline block so many times. Okay, okay, I’m just joking about that. Sort of.
My husband has been gone upwards of 30 days at a time with his jobs and was even absent for an entire year at one point. True story. We have very literally lived in two completely different states from one another, even to the point of having separate mailing addresses. Twice.
We have seen times of plenty and plenty of times when we didn’t know where our next meal would come from. We have moved an average of every two years and graced eight states with our presence. Well, really only six but KS and TX were years apart and count twice. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Either way, if there was a frequent flyer discount with U-Haul, we would’ve earned a free trip around the world by now.
We have been a two-income family and a one-income family . . . not always his. We have even been through a difficult period where we thought he’d never, ever fly again and he ended up working one of those good ol’ 9-5’s we all think will fix our life problems. It didn’t. In fact, it straight-up sucked and was probably the worst six months of our entire marriage together.
Like anyone, we have experienced both highs and lows in our marriage, exacerbated by the lifestyle we live. There have been periods of extreme closeness when we couldn’t bear to let one another go and other periods where we barely liked each other and couldn’t wait for him leave on his next trip.
Even when it was tough, however, we consistently and unwaveringly chose to love one another even when we didn’t like each other very much, and as a result and despite the cards we’re still here holding hands and still in love!
Madly, deeply, truly.
As for me? I’m a pilot’s wife, a mommy of two, a full-time homeschooler, a published author (two novels), a regular blogger for five blogs, a freelance writer and magazine contributor, a farmer with approximately 100 head of livestock, a small business owner (a publishing company), and a regular volunteer for at least four nonprofits.
Tired yet? Yeah, me too!
Why do I share all this with you? Not because I want pity. Heavens no. In fact, far from it! This is the life I chose, and I choose live it vibrantly and as well as I possibly can. I love what I live and I live what I love. I’m not saying some days aren’t harder than others, but I own them instead of allowing them own me.
No. I’m sharing this because I want you to know I know.
I know what it’s like to be married to a pilot. I know what it’s like to be overwhelmed with the mundane day-to-day tasks of parenting and housewifery with a traveling man. I know what it’s like to be surrounded by people and be excruciatingly lonely. I know what it’s like to do holidays alone and cry yourself to sleep at night because it’s just plain frigging hard.
But I also know what it’s like to rise above the circumstance and live this life well. I know what it’s like to be proud of a man who works hard for us. I know what it’s like to finally give up my right to bemoan the moments without him and own my right to make every single moment together worthwhile. I know what it’s like to choose this life, to choose to love him, and to choose live it with joy. No. Matter. What.
Oh girl, I know!
I’m not the Chihuahua chick telling you how to parent your kid in the middle of the market, I’m just another pilot wife who’s been there, done that and still, despite all the odds stacked toweringly against us, loves my husband fiercely (and vice versa) and who wants to send a little bit of encouragement your way.
I want you to know that you can live this crazy, chaotic, upside down, backwards life and live it well. I truly believe it. I cannot choose it for you; it’s up to you and your husband to find the cruising altitude that works best for you. But maybe, just maybe, I can make you laugh, give you something new to consider, encourage you to hang in there, and simply share my struggles as well as victories with you so you know that you are not alone on this flight.
And I want you to know it’s okay to let yourself cry…but it’s also okay to let yourself find joy too.
I know. Been there, done that too.
Angelia (~A Fellow Pilot Wife)