FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: Off the Grid.


by Dave Markwell

My wife is leaving town for 6 days. She is going on some type of “retreat” with a bunch of ladies to discuss and experience whatever a bunch of ladies “retreating” will. I have zero idea what that might be, but I’m happy for her. Our nine year old daughter is less happy. She is a “mommy’s” girl. She is struggling with the idea that not only will Mom not be home, but she will be completely off the grid: no phone, no computer. No contact. Period.

This is unexplored territory for our family. With our current technologies, it seems that we can’t get away from contact even if we want to. But, my wife has found a way to do it. And it’s a little unsettling.

In the 11+ years that I have known my wife, I have NOT, not spoken with her for more than a couple of days. She might have not spoken with me for this duration (or even longer), but she had her “reasons.” Anywhooo.., it’s kind of weird.

Again, my little girl is taking it especially hard. She misses her mom even when she’s in the house. She will seek her out in the bathroom and shadow her “movements”. She sits with/on her on the couch. She showers, cooks, eats and smothers her with affection every waking moment that my wife is home. It is nice, but annoying I would imagine. And I don’t have to imagine, because since it annoys me, I’m sure it annoys my wife. Also, she has said it’s annoying. So, given my daughter’s attachment issues, managing this great void in her life will be a challenge.

But, luckily, I am well-acquainted with putting out these types of fires. My daughter has been lighting them since she was born. I have danced and sang and played games and cooked her favorite foods countless times to avoid catastrophic meltdowns. The hotter she gets, the cooler I must get. I can do this. This ain’t my first rodeo.

While mentally and emotionally preparing myself for the next few days, it occurred to me that my daughter won’t be the only one missing my wife. I will miss her, too.

For the past eleven years, she has been a staple part of my days. Even during our rare distances, she is at least a phone call away. This comfort is gone. I usually know about her days. I hear her voice and even when it’s boring, I like feeling her on the other end of the line. Dang, I might need my daughter to comfort me!!!

Well, it’s only day one and with a busy weekend ahead, we can whittle some hours off of our wait. We will go see a movie, maybe two. We will go shopping and walk around town. We will visit friends and go swimming. We will do these things to forget that we miss a woman that means so much to us. I guess absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.

Oh well, as “grief shared is grief divided”, my pretty little girl and I will pass our time together. Maybe she’ll even appreciate me a little bit more. It’s a nice dream, but I hope she doesn’t want to come into the bathroom with me…

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]


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