I have grown afraid to hope.
This whole rigmarole with Craig in Ireland has pointed it out with startling clarity. His departure was mid-June and I half-hoped he would return in three weeks. I realized that it was very likely his trip would be extended and I put that knowledge firmly alongside my hope he would return soon so the hope was heavily overshadowed. If I allowed myself to become attached to his three-week return, I thought my feelings would be too difficult to manage as his arrival date came and went. So on day one of his trip, I started bracing myself for a less-than-perfect outcome.
Now almost six months later, I don't allow even the tiniest glimmer of hope to enter my thoughts. I feel as though I simply can't begin to entertain a time when he returns to us.
It would seem that I believe I do better when I am aware of and prepared for a not-so-great outcome. If I can visualize a poor outcome I am stronger (but of course I'm now questioning this strength as it makes no sense at all). If a better outcome arrives, I can be pleasantly surprised after all.
But, and this is a big but, what this really translates to is - for the past six months, I have been firmly shutting down any hope or elation at the idea of my husband's re-integration in my life. I have firmly kept a rein on any possibility our life will get back to normal. Essentially, I have been walking around for weeks and weeks with the idea "he'll never get back and I better get used to it" haunting me.
The reality is that Craig is not here with us. It just is. My perception is that I must not hope for his return. I must live with the dark, yucky, perspective that I cannot even hope for his return.
What I'm coming up against here is an outdated way of approaching life. I can sense that this doom and gloom outlook is wearing thin. I'm also questioning it because I suspect I'm teaching my small children to prepare for the worst in all cases. Before they even have the skills to build their dreams and hopes, I am teaching them to aim low and not expect much. I am teaching them to "un-dream" before they even have dreams. Not at all satisfied with that.
"Daddy may come home on December 6th, but we can't get our hopes up. His return may be delayed again and we just don't know," I warn.
So from now until December 6th we all get to live with the larger possibility that he will not arrive. We will remain alone.
Now, let's paint the opposite picture - "Daddy is scheduled to come home around December 6th. It's really possible he'll be here with us then! Won't that be fabulous to have him home?" I enthuse.
So, either way, he's coming or he's not coming on December 6th. But, in the first scenario, we wander through our days with a kind of sadness and hopelessness. In the other case, we get to anticipate the delicious feeling of his hugs and the sound of his laughter. We get to revel in the idea that we will all be a unit again."
It is not up to me whether or not he flies on December 6th. I have no control over that. I do, however, have control over my thoughts and perceptions about his return until that date. Knowing that, I choose to live my next 15 days getting my hopes up.... way up.