Have you ever walked into a room feeling apprehensive about what you were wearing?
As I headed into a party the other night where pilots, flight attendants, and other friends, were in attendance, I wasn’t sure I had chosen the right shirt. In fact, I was so nervous I carried my tote bag over my chest to cover it because I didn’t want anyone to see what it said.
What was I wearing that caused me this much panic and anxiety?
Yes, He’s working
No, I don’t know when he’ll be home.
Yes, we are still married.
No, He’s not imaginary.
While I love the shirt and think it’s highly appropriate for a PW like me, I was uncertain about how people would react to those phases. Thankfully after one cold beer, my t-shirt insecurity flew away. As I talked with different people throughout the night, people stopped me to ask about my shirt:
- A group of pilots laughed at the phrase, “He’s not imaginary, and No, I don’t know when he will be home.”
- When another pilot read my shirt said, “No, he is not imaginary and lets’ keep that way. My schedule can change at a moments notice and heck; I don’t even know where I’m going half the time.” ( actually, our pilots do know where they’re going).
- Even my PW wedge of friends couldn’t help but laugh cause they personally know the truth each of those phrases conveys.
Despite my earlier unease, I’m glad I wore the shirt to the party – not only because it added some fun to the evening, but it also reminded me of how I always respond to those phrases with others.
My T-shirt reality
Yes, he is working. I’m not just making it up. His job is to fly those big jets in the sky, which requires him to be away from home a lot. He will wake up at 0 -dark early or finish his day at the wee hours of the morning. His day is making sure hundreds of passengers arrive at their destinations without any technical difficulty. He loves the work he does, and I’m proud of him for it!
No, I don’t know when he will be home. I’m not the PW who tracks his location all the time. Instead, I put on my Superpower PW cape and take on my day! I run errands, manage everyday household tasks and fill my day doing what I love to do such as writing (my job) and work on staying calm and picking my battles with a teenage boy.
Jeff’s schedule can change in the blink of an eye. As I’m writing this, Jeff got called out on a three-day trip. He’s scheduled to come back tomorrow. However, that could change like the wind, and he could be home three days later. So, no, I don’t know when he will be back. But when he does return, I’ll be happy to see him fly into my arms. As long as he’s been a pilot, I can’t remember a time when I haven’t been happy to see him.
Yes, we are still married. That’s why Jeff leaves for three or four days. Hahaha! I won’t lie to you, we’ve had turbulence, malfunctions, and miscommunications in our marriage. (you can read about those here). But over the course of our marriage, we have learned to carry the bag of grace, patience, respect, and more importantly, the oversized bag of love. I have heard from a few PW’s and their spouses that being a pilot requires some adjustments that are different from flying.
In the book Highest Duty by Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger he says, “I can control an airplane and make it do what I want it to do. I can learn all of its component systems and understand how they work in every circumstance. Piloting is well defined, with a process that is predictable and understandable to me. Relationships, on the other hand, are more ambiguous. There’s a good deal of nuance, and it’s not always obvious what the right answer is.”
Let’s be real, girlfriend, we are far from being predictable and understandable! At least I know I’m not!
So, yes, we are still married, I love him more and more each time he lands back into my life.
He is not imaginary. Because I attend events, parties, and church by myself a lot, there have been occasions where people question whether I really have a husband! When someone asks me where my husband is, my brain goes into auto-responder mode:
*He is flying.
*He’s gone for a few days.
*He’s on the beach and decided not to take me (just to be sassy!)
I get excited to tell others about my husband and who he flies for. I’m proud of who is, and I talk about him with respect and love. Trust me, he’s not imaginary… he’s alive and real!
In the end, it was fun to wear my shirt. In doing so, it brought up some great conversations with other wives and even their husbands.
If I made my own PW t-shirt, here are a few statements I’d consider having on it:
Stay steady and calm upon arrival
Altitude and Attitude are essential
Flexibility needed in all areas
I make him happy when he leaves and when he comes home
If you were to make a PW t-shirt what would you have on it? Leave a comment below, love to read what yours would say.
Take-off and Landings always, Tiffany
(**You can read more about these on a series I did A Pilot Wife and her shoes)
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