True confession: I am a hunting widow.
Okay, that isn’t the actual confession.
I don’t hate it.
There, I said it.
When I first became a hunting widow, though, I did hate it. I loathed it. I had huge resentment for that week in mid-November, when my husband would pack up his pickup truck, peck me on the cheek, and be off on his merry way to go play in the woods, no concern whatsoever except for his own personal needs.
Meanwhile, I was stuck at home, eventually with two babies, and the very last thing I could possibly be concerned about was my own needs.
My husband discovered deer hunting the year we had our first child. Coincidence? He’d say yes. I know better. Because taking care of babies is hard work, and everyone needs a break once in a while. Heading out for a remote part of the state without children for a week was the perfect break for him.
Meanwhile, I wondered if I’d ever, ever get a break.
The first year, he left me alone with a not-quite month-old baby. I was still trying to figure out how to breastfeed, and most definitely not getting enough sleep.
The second year was a little better. I had a flexible job and a reasonable grasp on the whole childrearing concept.
The third year, I had lost that flexible job, moved to a more inflexible one, and just found out I was pregnant with number two.
The fourth, he left me alone with a three-year-old and five-month-old, and I had just started a job that was so terrible I generally block that year out of my life and I don’t even put it on my résumé.
Wow, maybe my hatred of hunting widow-hood had more to do with my poor career choices, eh?
During years five and six I had finally moved into a job that was significantly better in its flexibility, which admittedly made it easier to be a single mom for a week during November. Still, where was my break?
It came in year seven, courtesy of The Recession. I lost my job, and it would take a full fifteen months for me to become gainfully employed again. My husband of course still went hunting that year, but at least I didn’t have to juggle work and babies all by myself. Plus, my kids had reached an age where it was more fun than frustrating to spend every waking moment with them, without help. For example, my husband hates eating breakfast for dinner (yeah, he has a few quirks), whereas my children and I (and, I would argue, nearly the entire rest of the world) love it. So breakfast for dinner became a thing during hunting week.
By the fall of 2010, I was back to work, at a place that just keeps getting more flexible (I’ve been there ten years now).
In 2016, we lost my son, and hunting week became mom-daughter bonding time.
And my daughter keeps growing up, keeps getting more and more independent, and hunting widow-hood has become easier and easier, to the point where I almost look forward to this “break.”
My house miraculously stays cleaner for a week.
My schedule is easier to manage.
I get the bed to myself (I’m a self-admitted bed hog). Also, no snoring, so I’m enjoying the best sleep I get all year long.
My daughter and I have the same taste in entertainment so there’s no long, frustrated battle over what to watch on movie night.
This year, courtesy of earlier-mentioned independence, my daughter hasn’t been around much all weekend either, so I’ve had no distractions while I cuddle up with my laptop and work on bringing you fun new books.
And yes, we had breakfast for dinner. And may one more time before the mighty hunter returns.