Sherry returned this evening. What fantastic news. I'm particularly glad that she did so in time to see her brother, his family, and fireworks in Glenside. I enjoyed seeing her spend time with Sam and Caroline. They shared a blanket beneath Abington's fireworks.
I don't like to think of myself as a single parent when she's away. I prefer to think that I'm temporarily flying solo. It means an added burden, less opportunities to take breaks. But I have many good friends as well as family who offers me support when she's gone. To wit, the three of us only had to eat meals at home three nights (of the sixteen she was gone) on this particular trip.
Speaking of flying solo, it's funny how technology makes it possible to see where she is in the air, how fast and how high the plane is following. I knew the moment she touched down in Philadelphia. And during the trip, video calls were free and easy to conduct. How did couples do this even a decade ago?
Oh, and I should commend my two kids for being much more effective helpers this time around than last year. Yesterday I challenged them to work as a team to unload the whole dishwasher without my help: they didn't need to ask once where an item went. It was pretty impressive.
What struck me about flying solo this time, however, was how much I missed having a sounding board who understands my kids (and me) as well as Sherry does. It's up to me to make all the judgment calls while she's away. Toward the end of the trip, it taxed me. And when I wasn't thinking about how to respond to a situation, I was analyzing how I had responded to the most recent one. I miss having my wife here to talk me down off of stubborn ledges. I miss the breaks and perspective a spouse who is right here can offer.
Still, I think it's tougher on the one who is away. I could see the joy she took in seeing Sam and Caroline again. It overcame her fatigue from nearly 32 sleepless hours in transit.