Hunting He Will Go

DSC01536It’s that time of year again—my husband’s bi-annual hunting trip. Seven years into this routine, and I can say that I enjoy this trip almost as much as he does, and I don’t even go with him. I love my husband. Truly love him. I love our time together, our friendship and our marriage. He makes me laugh, makes me blush and makes me whole. And yet, a few weekends apart a year is something we both look forward to. Not because we cherish time apart, but because we cherish coming back together again.

This wasn’t always the case, at least not for me. Chalk it up to being married for twenty-three years to a man (my first husband) who thought independence was a dirty word. Chalk it up to my own insecurities after said first husband walked out on our marriage without a warning or backward glance. Watching my new husband filled with excitement over the opportunity to hang out with a bunch of guys in the woods—sometimes in the snow—made me wonder if life wasn’t easier without me than with me. Silly girl.

Sounds pathetic, I know. But I’m just being honest here.

Flash forward seven years. God has done such a remarkable work in me that I’m not only fine with Chris’s trips away, I actually look forward to them. Although, as a writer, I spend a lot of time alone, this is a different kind of alone. For my own sanity, I began planning big projects to fill my time while he was absent. Gone was the need to be in bed by 9:30 so I could get up by 4:30. Gone was the need to cook normal meals or eat at scheduled times. I’d stay up until two a.m., painting to my heart’s content or refinishing a piece of furniture or watching chick flicks. And then an amazing thing happened. I discovered it was fun!

Why don’t I go off on my own adventure, you might ask? I did that a time or two. But there’s just something about being home without answering to anyone that is too attractive to pass up. The first time I married, I was only twenty (crazy, huh?) I’d lived with my family, then with three college roommates, then with a husband. It wasn’t until I was forty-two and abruptly abandoned that I lived on my own. Once I got over the shock, I loved it. Not enough to choose to do it indefinitely, but enough to know what it was like to be a little selfish with my time. My husband’s hunting trips allow me to wallow in this self-centered world a little.

But when Sunday comes, and he’s headed home, I’m as giddy as when we first started dating. Enough’s enough. And although it’s been a nice place to visit, I’m reminded at the end of three days, it’s not where I want to live. The saying absence makes the heart grow fonder never feels truer than at the end of his time away.

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