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Over the years I’ve taken on many titles. With these titles have come certain groups of people I’ve associated with, those who I found common bonds. For years I was bonded with other women who suffered infertility and miscarriages, and as time passed I had the humble honor of witnessing these strong women become mothers. As a wife, I started out my marriage young and naïve but as time marched on I soon found myself with a new title: wife of a road warrior.

This title doesn’t make me particularly unique; in fact, I’m finding there are more women out there than I ever imagined who could claim the same. I think of these women often, even though I can only count on one hand the number of wives I personally know who are a part of this club. These women go days, weeks and even months without seeing their husbands. We live in a world where technology can connect people globally through a device in your hand; however, there are still some jobs that require a person in the flesh.

My husband has one of those jobs. The longest he’s ever been gone is two months, which to some may seem like not that long, and to others, seems an eternity.

When I married him I didn’t know his work would someday take him away so much, not that it would’ve changed my decision, but at least I would’ve known what I was getting into.

His work travel didn’t really peak until after we had kids, of course, God has a sense of humor that way. I remember being in pre-labor with my first child and praying he could find a flight in time to make it home for the birth. With my second, I remember coming home from the hospital and helping him pack for a two-week trip.

My children are older now, so it’s easier in many ways. They’ve really never known any different, so while I can’t say they are used to it—because I don’t believe any child can really get used to seeing his dad a handful of days a month—we’re lucky this didn’t just happen overnight.

But for some, it does. Unexpected, yet welcome promotions or new jobs after being laid off are the toughest situations. When, as a wife, you’re accustomed to dinner as a family every night and suddenly that is gone. Your partner who helps you divide and conquer the responsibilities that come with parenting is now only there part-time and suddenly all that weight shifts onto her shoulders, albeit temporarily.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the wives who have to see their husbands and fathers of their children off to war zones or working dangerous jobs like coal mining, risking their lives in exchange for the ability to provide for their families. Please don’t think for a second I’m comparing myself or those in similar circumstances to mine as the true heroes. What we go through as road warrior wives completely pales in comparison to the sacrifice those families go through.

While road warrior wives can Skype and FaceTime, it still doesn’t replace the cuddling during story time.

Road warrior wives go to bed exhausted doing the work of two while missing that warm, familiar body next to them.

Road warrior wives maintain the home and everything that comes with it, including killing the bugs they’re scared of and wish he was here to deal with instead.

Road warrior wives sometimes work, too and have to scramble for childcare when someone wakes up in the night with a fever because there is an important meeting or work event that simply cannot be missed.

Road warrior wives steal any amount of free time they can because everything falls on them when Dad is gone. You find yourself watching YouTube videos on how to replace air filters and vacuum condensers because it’s a hot summer night and the air won’t kick on.

Road warrior wives count down the days until their husbands return and can instantly tell you (sometimes down to the second) how much longer until then.

A road warrior wife does know exactly when their husband will be home, but she doesn’t always know where her husband is on that particular week or day because it changes so much and so often. Maybe he’s in Phoenix? Oh wait no, that was last week. Ohio? No, I think he said something about Colorado . . . Finally, you shrug and say something along the lines of I’m not sure, but I do know he will be back (insert date here).

While the role of a road warrior wife is not easy, we know we are blessed. We have husbands who sacrifice their time for their family. All this traveling means these husbands also miss out on golfing tournaments, fishing trips and (ahem) let’s just say proper couples ministry time.

But what the whole family gains is appreciation.

Appreciation for the time we do have together.

Appreciation for the roles we all play, and their importance.

Appreciation for the opportunities these sacrifices give us.

And the appreciation of the patient, courageous, loving, strong women we’re becoming and learning more about, who we otherwise we may not have grown to know.

Here’s to you, road warrior wife.

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Kimberly Patterson

Kimberly Patterson is a writer, wife and mother of two adorable, over-zealous toddlers. She spends her days in yoga pants, pecking away at the keys on her laptop and pulling her kids off of whatever household furniture they climb upon. She has been published on The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Her View From Home, The Mighty, and several other publications. Read more of her insights at truthisinthewriting.com.

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