Hank and I have been together since 2004. For a huge part of those early years, Hank would leave on tour with his band, and I would stay behind, outside of a few exceptions when I would fly out and meet him. I was busy getting my Master's degree and then teaching, which kept me firmly rooted in Arizona. The first year we were officially a couple I actually lived in Phoenix and he lived up in Prescott, but his tour schedule was crazy and he was gone most of the time. It's all still so clear in my mind, and as sad as I was to miss him, I also kind of liked having him to miss. Our time together was already dialed in so well to quality over quantity due to that first year of long distance, that it was only natural to do well in a position where we were apart a lot. And we were a good long distance couple- we both loved to talk on the phone and write letters and postcards, which suited us well.
Time went on and as touring became less and less frequent, other parts began to come more front and center. And sometime around 2010 it stopped completely. This was hard for him- he'd spent such a huge part of his life in a van with his best friends that it was as if a part of his identity was kind of left somewhere out there on the road too- and it was an adjustment. It was a chapter closing for sure, something that Hank could do a much better job talking about, but another chapter was also opening at this same time- a season of growing our family.
Life went on and we settled into our life here in Prescott. No more touring, but we still traveled as much as we could, which satisfied both of our needs to see new places outside of the small town we still call home. We leaned into being here, being home. We were a young married couple, pregnant for the first time, me teaching high school English and Hank working for his family business. Time went on, we had another baby....and now we have three. And somewhere in the time between then and now, I became the person who was missed. Hank's work keeps him close- commercial and residential real estate right here where we live- but mine takes me farther. Putting on events in cities around the country, hopping on a small plane to LA for the day- as the past few years have gone by and my career has taken a new turn, I became the one who was leaving.
To be honest I hadn't though much about it until today, when I was getting all three kids ready to head to Henry's baseball game. Hank's on a mountain biking trip with a group of his guy friends- he left yesterday morning, and won't be back for couple days. The second he left I missed him. And it's not like I don't miss him regularly, or when I'm the one away on a trip, but I think this was the first time I got that very familiar, almost nostalgic feeling of missing him terribly, not knowing when I'd speak to him over the next few days, wondering what he was doing as the hours went on.
And sometimes you forget all of this stuff, you know? I just spent a good thirty minutes looking through old photos and videos of Hank on tour and remembering so much. I read back in this blog and found so many entries with photos of me counting down until he got home, sharing show fliers and pictures...it was such a different time.
Right now I'm sitting here on our living room couch missing Hank, while our three children are asleep. I'm turning 35 next month, a far cry from the 22-year old who once upon a time sat upon a different living room couch, in a different living room, missing the same Hank. Time flies, things change. But this weekend, it's a little funny to be feeling those same things I haven't felt for such a long time, and remembering all of those times that were really the foundation of something pretty amazing.
So in the spirit of every blog post from so long ago, I'll end by saying that there are just a couple more days until my sweetheart is home. The countdown is on, but the only difference is that now he'll be coming home to four of us. Pretty damn amazing.