He leaves before the sun comes up and does not come back until the sun goes down. I wake thinking about the long hours I have ahead of me. It is just my son and me. Our child asks me almost every hour where Daddy is and why he is gone for so long. The little boy tells me he misses him, and I cancknot help but feel my own heartache as I yearn to see my husband as well.
The government deemed his work essential.
While they tell the rest of the world to stay home, he is a part of the group told to go out.
They told him he will probably get the virus—it is only a matter of time. We take the precautions anyway.
After a 12-hour shift—14 if you include the commute—he walks into the backyard to get undressed. Instead of meeting us with hugs, he is met by my hands, with gloves on them, ready to take his clothes right into the wash.
He runs into the shower with my son calling after him. While he washes off the day, I change my gloves to disinfect the items he brought home. I set dinner up for us. I listen as he tells me about work, and I swallow the lump that builds up in my throat.
The fear that comes every time he walks out the door is crippling. It’s as if my thoughts are a tidal wave that surrounds my entire body, and it just keeps coming. What if he gets it? What if I get it? What if someone decides to act on threats against the building? Before my mind can even finish one question, another one is starting. This exhausting mind game goes on all day. I try to drown out the questions with music, prayer, and being present with my son. They just get so loud.
We all have a role to play in this pandemic and mine is the essential worker’s wife.
The wife who tries to be brave because I am not the one going into public. The spouse who stays home with our child and tries to be the best mom she can. The wife who needs to remember she is a person. A person who can have feelings, feel tired, overwhelmed, a little crazy, and wish my husband was able to be home. A human who can keep things in perspective and practice gratitude even when it is hard.
Someone who can put her best foot forward every day and be OK—even if that foot looks like a messy house and tears.