The Overnight Bag

I hate my husband's overnight bag.

When we first moved here, Troy's job required him to travel a few times a month. Hard on a family with little kids, but, at the time, part of the trade-off for getting out of another job in a difficult environment. For our first Christmas here, a sweet family friend gave him a travel overnight bag -- one that has a hanger on it so you can hang it on door frames or hooks, and has several compartments for razor, toothbrush, medicine, contacts, etc.

He loved and still does love that overnight bag. It is very handy and useful. When he first got it he was traveling so much there was not much point in really unpacking it, so he pretty much lived out of it at home or on the road.

So the overnight bag was either chronically hanging on my shower, reminding me that another leaving was just around the corner, or it was gone, reminding me that he was gone with it. When the overnight bag was here, it made me think of my mom encouraging anyone who may be in her home wearing a coat, "Take off your coat and stay a while." I wanted to say, "Unpack your bag and stay a while..."

Eventually I did. Seriously, I built up so much resentment to that one poor bag (it wasn't just the leaving --it was also that it was in the way of the shower door) that I asked to Troy to please just unpack it when he got home and repack it as he was leaving. By this time his travel had slowed considerably and that wasn't as much of an issue.

Then... glory be! Last year, Troy got an entirely different job, requiring very little travel. The overnight bag was tucked away, only to be drug out for fun vacations, or hunting trips. Much better.

Until...(cue suspense music) now entirely different job can't decide which job it really should be, so maybe all 3? The bag has returned. The travel has returned. He has been gone each of the last 3 weeks (for 2-4 days each week, not all week), Today will begin a brief 10 day respite before another 2 weeks of travel. Color me unamused currently.

I am in the pouting phase. I hate that stupid bag.

Now, you know I can't leave it like that. Mainly because I can already hear you clackety-clacking on your keyboard preaching at me, but I KNOW. The best part is, that my friends who really truly know -- my widow friend with kids younger than mine, my air force wife friend -- never preach at me. Because they know. They know that deep in my soul I am grateful simply for a living, breathing husband whose job is on this side of the ocean. But they also know that a family simply works better as a cohesive unit, and sometimes a mom doing it on her own also needs a release valve. Mine is that stupid overnight bag. That is what I choose to be angry at and loathe. And those who truly know what it's like -- simply let me be mad at the overnight bag, no judgment.

Another thing I will eventually be thankful for is that thus far (I am so jinxing myself) we have had neither house nor health calamities through these travels. A trip out of town usually requires either a trip to the ER or a phone call to the plumber for those left behind. So... that is what I leave you with. Next trip, I will change my attitude and we will have a walk down memory lane, I promise. There is some hilarity of all the goin's on that have happened here in Troy's absence -- few of them funny at the time. I will share soon.

So -- anyone have any good single-parent stories to share while we wait?
UPDATED: Didn't the Lord have fun with this one?? For months after I wrote this he had no job, then he had a job in another town where he really did live out of that overnight bag. Now he still travels for work, but usually on a plane where the overnight bag is too big, so he is full of travel size toiletries.


Roxanne said...

This was some of your best writing ever.

Brandi said...

OH! We have that same travel bag at our house! And as much as I loathe it, I do miss it when it is gone! The past two months it has been gone so much that I wonder if it will ever be in my way again! I so understand where you are coming from!

(But to get it out of the way when it is at home, it stays packed and put away. He has two of everything, one for home and one for the bag)

Amanda Sanders said...

Ah, thank you. I understand. It's the Steel Toe work boots and hard hat around here. (BTW don't kick steel toe size 12 work boots. No matter how mad you get. Not worth it.)

Stephanie said...

Every third night... It can be tricky. As long as this has been going on (14 yrs?) I still can't fall right to sleep, and always feel better when I'm on his side of the bed.

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