When you are married to an airline pilot, you have a choice to make. You can either constantly know where he is and fret over his existence, or you can know when he's leaving, when he's coming home, and when you can talk. For our 13 years of marriage, I have basically chosen the latter. When we got his schedule for the month ahead, he would print it out or email it to me. Then, I carefully wrote the leaving and coming home times (in army time!) and plan our dates, my alone time, and other things around that. However, it would leave family and friends surprised when they would ask “Where is Aaron tonight?” and I would have no clue. Besides, I thought—who is supposed to be able to figure out all the archaic three letter abbreviations for the continental airports?
I was happily surfed along in this existence until a recent Friday night. For one thing, we have 'upgraded' and now our shared calendar is on our android phones with Google calendar. So, he puts his schedule on in orange when he gets it, and I no longer do it longhand. However, being that sometimes I'm not very bright, I didn't realize that besides saying when he would leave and come home, it also told of his overnight whereabouts. (Still in three letters, but hey!). Or rather, I saw them, but it didn't register that I might need that information.
So, on this Friday night, as I recall, we were swimming at my aunt and uncle's pool AND we were going to spend the night for an end-of-the-summer bash. I was waiting to hear from Aaron, but I'd also forgotten my phone charger. So, I did what any prudent person would do, and I turned off the Internet on my phone so I could save the energy to talk to him later. I sent a text asking him to call me when he could. Well, the kids and I swam and played and watched a movie, and it was 23:00 and I still hadn't heard from him. Being the non-worrier that I am, I fell fast asleep.
In the morning, the kids swam again and then we headed home. I plugged in my phone and realized the Wi-fi hadn't been turned on. My phone dinged and I saw an email from my husband reminding me that he was in Mexico and could we Skye. When he is out of the country, he can't text or call. So...oops. He had sent it the night before. Oops again. Then, he sent another email saying he would call me once he could.
So, the kids and I hung out. We worked on things around home. We played. As the day wore on, I still hadn't heard from him. He was usually pretty vigilant about keeping in touch. Was he in trouble? Did his plane crash? Of course I knew his statistics that airplanes are safer than cars, but I was beginning to worry. I sent some more frantic texts and emails. No word. And, of course, all of the stories I know of marriages that have broken apart drifted around in my mind.
So, instead of waiting and trusting, I did what most people would do, and I panicked. My kids could tell a difference. My oldest got worried, too. I tried to find his schedule so I could find his flight number. No schedule in my email (which has most things since about 2008). I looked in his email (archived or deleted instantaneously when received)--nothing. I looked at the employee travel site. Nothing. Tried to login to his work account. No password. I was at the end of what I knew to do. So, since I am an INFJ and I had already beyond maxed out my almost non-existent 'T' in the Meyer's Briggs—I did the unthinkable. I called the number he gave me for emergencies....the number for his boss.
I called the number. Left a voice mail. Got a call right back saying he would find out and call or text me back. My voice must have sounded frazzled, because when he called back to say Aaron was fine, he asked me several times if I was okay. I promised I was.
Aaron called me about an hour later. I failed to mention anything about calling his boss. I wasn't really trying to hide the information, just I didn't think it was that important. Besides, he only had a few moments to talk after a long day of flying. He said he wouldn't get home until late—1:00 or so.
I fell asleep okay, knowing he would be home soon. Still angry about the miscommunication of the last several days—but not really thinking too much of it was my fault.
We finally had a chance to talk the next morning after a huffy breakfast and an angry stubbed toe experience of the night. We were both mad. I felt unloved—how could he not call me?!--(he was in Mexico, he sent emails which I didn't get until later, I was the one who didn't Skype). He felt disrespected---what made me panic after not paying attention to all this for years so much that I had to call his boss?!--(I had tried all the other options, I forgot the detail that the calendar said he was in Mexico, his boss was really nice).
We forgave. He moved on, I moped. Respect is such an elusive thing to me. “Expect the best and respect will follow.” Obviously, I hadn't done that.
So, now, I'm back to making sure I have his schedule for each month. The one with hotel phone numbers and flight numbers. I have it in my 'save for a bit' folder, for in case I really need to know again. And, I will look closer at the calendar to tell where he is overnight, so I can know and at least answer people who ask. Besides, how hard is it, really, to figure out that MEX stands for Mexico City?
My pilot husband doesn't care much for personality tests. He thinks they put people in boxes too much and I think he doesn't like living under some stereotype. In some ways, he's right. All people are unique because of our different experiences, temperaments, birth order, beliefs, and personality.
I guess one way my pilot and I are different is that learning my personality has been key in my life. It all started when my youngest was about three and I began thinking about what life would be like after she was in kindergarten. I always knew I wanted to be a mom, and although I knew mothering would continue once they were all in school, the prospect of free time to myself was exciting and yet...daunting.
So, several books and studies came into my life. I checked out Do What You Are from the library, which is about careers and personalities. After taking the test and reading descriptions of jobs, the most interesting thing on the list to me was writing, but I still wasn't sure. Our church was having a study on personalities and the Christian faith. I wrestled with the short written multiple choice test, still unsure of what I was. It wasn't until I devoured a book called Motherstyles and took the test therein that I really felt that I KNEW that I was an INFJ. This book helped me the most because I had been doing full time mothering for seven years at that point, so I could easily answer the questions.
INFJ stands for:
Introvert—I get re-engergized by being alone. This does not mean that I'm shy, just I need some space away sometimes. Self care: Take a nap. Stare out the window for awhile.
INtuitive—I like to have the big picture and to be creative and to think outside the box, asking why questions. I am also idealistic and set high goals. Self care: Learn something new. Write or journal.
Feeling--Keeping relationships in harmony is very important to me. After I'm alone for awhile, I need to communicate with someone again and see how they're doing or feeling. Self care: Take a break from people who need you. Find out what things you really enjoy doing and do one of them.
Judging—I like to have a plan and a schedule. Self care: Have some area (even a drawer) that you are in charge of. Keep it organized just like you like.
In many ways, being an INFJ is like walking on a balance beam. You need to be alone—but you need to be with people, too. You like to live on a whim and go with the flow of your creativity, but you also must have structure.
Since INFJ's are one of the rare types, I've found that how I view and do life is different from many others. But, finding this out has helped me better accept myself and use my strengths, and work on my weaknesses.
Thankfully, even though my husband doesn't like personality tests, he still likes me—well, almost all of the time.
Do you know your type? Click here to take a free test: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp
“Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” 2 Chronicles 20:21
I usually look forward to February. It is a month when not much is happening and I feel it is a time that I can hibernate.
Except, sometimes, February causes me problems, too. Days when I don't have much going on or much of a plan can feel pointless and being the melancholic that I am, it is very likely that I will be tempted to swoop down into the “I don't know why God made me and I feel pointless and tired and blah...” ditch.
That is a scary place to go, and the cloudy Ohio February days can fly me down towards that pit. So, I picked up my Bible and found some verses. I cried (while my poor almost 4-year-old tried to comfort me), although I didn't have a real specific reason why. I called two friends—no answer. The third friend I tried called me back.
I explained a little how I was feeling and asked her to pray for me right then. She reminded me of God's love and faithfulness and how sometimes spiritual battles come in the form of discouragement and downheartedness. I was then reminded of the battle in 2 Chronicles 20:21. Of how scared they were of the army coming to attack and how when they went out to fight, men were appointed to sing and say “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”
As they did this, the Lord sent ambushes on the other army. He fought for Israel that day.
So, I sang some songs. I read more verses. I listened to and sang along with some praise songs on my phone.
Then, with my little one, I marched around the house with a child's tambourine singing the same words the Israelites sang. I rested a bit in front of the warm heater. We ate some lunch. Then, the sun started shining in the window.
My house is a mess, but I bundled up and went outside with the same song in my heart. I ended up sprawling out on the trampoline, with the sun shining on my face. When I opened my eyes, there in the clouds was a heart--just for me--from the One who wanted to remind me that His love does endure forever.
"Do More of What Makes You Happy"--this was a sign my husband bought for me for Christmas this past year (with a little encouragement from me). I now have it hanging where I can see it every day.
Why do I need this reminder? I admit that this sign is not for everyone, and could seem selfish. However, as I am learning more about myself, I am seeing more and more how the rest of my family and rest of my life is better if I take care of myself. And, taking care of myself means saying 'no' to things that sap all my energy and make me 'less happy'.
As a Christian, this means I give glory to God in the ways He created me.
As an INFJ, this means I try to take time for myself each day, give myself chances to dream and imagine, find out what my own needs and feelings are, and order my life in such a way that it is not total chaos.
As a phlegmatic melancholic, this means that I need to learn to say 'no' and to set limits and but that I also enjoy working with lots of different types of people.
As a pilot's wife, this means that I have someone else watch the kids for a couple hours when he's gone on a four day trip so I can have some time to breathe and do what I want to do.
As a mother, this means that we don't do a lot of other 'busy' things that other families do.
So, if you are like me in any way, I hope to encourage you to be the best you and to "Do More of What Makes YOU Happy!"
"If Mama's not happy, no one's happy!" What Brings You Happiness is a blog designed to encourage you to take better care of yourself so you can take better care of others. Click on the categories below to find how I've dealt with various situations in light of who I am.