The Miner's Girl

The best of both worlds. Life as a fly-in, fly-out girlfriend.

Tag: time apart

The hardest part is saying goodbye

‘I don’t want to say goodbye’, he said.
‘I know’, I said, ‘but it’s only for now, you’ll feel better later.’
‘But the longer we’re together, the harder it is to say goodbye’, he said.
‘I know’, I said, ‘but it’ll get easier.
‘But I just love having a beard’, he said.

At which point I gave a long sigh of exasperation and told him that it was totally up to him whether or not he decided to shave his beard off.

We have been doing this for five years (the lifestyle, not the beard conversation) and in that time I have learnt that this DIDO/FIFO thing is much easier if you don’t actually have to say goodbye.

The beardI am lucky that due to his 7/7 roster he always leaves on a Wednesday after I’ve gone to work, so I just give him a kiss goodbye as I leave for work at 7am, usually while he’s still asleep and then I come home on a Wednesday evening and he’s not there. I return home and it feels a little too empty, things abandoned where he left them (slightly annoying), but usually with little gestures that make my heart swell (washing up done, dinner in the fridge, a haphazard attempt at last minute tidying) and although he’s gone, I know he’ll be back soon.

I wonder whether missing someone has something to do with being left behind. When we lived in Orange and I used to travel back to Sydney for the week to work, he always used to seem to take it harder too. I would get on a train and end up in Sydney with my friends and work and busy social life and he would be left behind with not much to do.

Similarly now, although he has a long drive ahead of him, he has something to do and somewhere to be, which is enough to keep him busy. As with many situations in this lifestyle, boredom is loneliness’s evil companion and staying busy is often the key to beating it.

So usually we manage not to say goodbye and just carry on our routine as normal, actually quite enjoying the time we have apart to do our own thing.

But this week, not only did Mr Miner go back to work a day early for training, but I decided to work from home to get some projects completed, which brings me back to where I started…

I am working in my office when he comes in to disturb me with ridiculous beard questions! In defence of my flippancy, he has been growing the beard for over a year and I had already suggested that maybe as he is not, a) a hipster, b) a bikie or c) homeless, that maybe it was time to say goodbye to the beard (also he sheds like a cat!).

I stood and watched (read laughed and took pictures) as he shaved it off just before he left to go back to work and as a face emerged that I hadn’t seen for over a year, I was struck by a sudden wave of sadness.

Maybe it was the funny fuzzy face that made me laugh, maybe it was the handsome stubbly face that reminded me of when we first met, or maybe it’s just that I’m not used to doing this anymore, but whichever it was, I suddenly didn’t want to say goodbye.

I did the dutiful girlfriend thing and walked him to the car, kissed him goodbye and waved him off from the front step and when I walked back inside our flat it felt to quiet, too cold and too empty, slightly abandoned and again I felt a little sad. And just as I was thinking how long a week apart could feel I walked back into the bathroom to see the sink covered in beard hair.

Saying goodbye is hard, but there’s always something to remind me he’ll definitely back. And probably sooner than it takes me to stop finding beard hair all over the place!

You don’t know what it’s got ’til it’s gone: Lent and FIFO, the surprising similarities

ChocolateShrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, Mardis Gras, whatever you want to call it, it heralds the start of Lent for many Christian denominations. During Lent observers give up something they consider to be a vice or a luxury for the 40 days and 40 nights leading up to Easter Sunday, as a form of penitence.

My Mum always took us to church as kids and my sister and I always give something up for Lent. This year I have given up chocolate, but also cake… and biscuits… and lollies… and desserts, otherwise I just substitute one for the other – especially when Mr Miner’s away. (I have previously given up alcohol for lent, but I have a camping trip with Mr Miner and his friends coming up and drinking will be a necessity!)

Apologies for my over-simplified version of Lent, but the point I’m trying to make is that, it’s a period where you give something up as a bit of a punishment. You go without something you really like, or enjoy, and understand what it’s like to go without, at least to a small extent. Sounds like something else I can think of!

As well as going without, it also makes you realise that your chosen vice is a luxury that you’re lucky to have and once you have it again, you appreciate it more. Similarly with FIFO, having time without your partner can be hard, but it can make you appreciate them more when they’re back too. And not only do I miss Mr Miner almost as much as I miss chocolate, there are other similarities to be drawn between Lent and FIFO too.

At first I miss chocolate, the velvety smoothness, body temperature melting point and sugary sweetness (oh nom, nom). I constantly think about it because I’m telling myself I can’t have it. When I walk into Coles, all I can see at the moment is the chocolate aisle. It’s also a bit of a test, because I forget that I can’t have it and then suddenly remember – usually just as I accept a lovely slice of cake and I’m about to take a bite.

In the same way, when Mr Miner first leaves, I forget he’s not there. I always think of things I want to tell him when I get home and then remember that I’ll have to text him or wait until he gets off work/wakes up to call him.

Then, after a few days, I slowly start getting used to going without and it’s not so bad. I find substitutes, like frozen banana and cocoa instead of chocolate ice cream, or hanging out with friends instead of him and there are always distractions, I keep myself busy and put my energy into something else (such as searching Pinterest for substitutes to ice cream and convincing myself that they are in fact a substitute and not just frozen fruit).

And once I’ve reached that halfway point, I can start planning for when I can have it again, what I will do with it, how much I will have and how good it will be. Get your mind out of the gutter please! I’m talking about the chocolate here obviously, this is a Christian post!

Finally, Easter day comes and I’m allowed to indulge again and of course I binge, I go overboard, I have it for breakfast and lunch and dinner, until I can’t have any more. Just like FIFO, the first 24 hours are brilliant and I can’t get enough of Mr Miner, but it’s definitely possible to have too much of a good thing!

And for a few days afterwards, I always feel naughty every time I have it, like I’m doing something wrong. It’s such a treat and time without makes me really appreciate having it back in my life – and the chocolate isn’t too bad either!

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