September has become a hectic month for us over the last few years as we prepare ourselves for Jon's annual business conference. For me, it is more mental preparation, gearing myself up for a week of independence and living on my own. For Jon, it is packing, planning, and containing his excitement for the upcoming free stuff and nightly drinks with his colleagues.
The first year that he participated I was a young 21-year-old who had never lived on her own, not even just over night. We had been married for 2 months and a month of that had been spent with me fretting the day that he would leave. And on the day that he left, as I waved good-bye to him from the other end of the airport terminal, I fully expected that calling me would be at the top of his priorities. Company meetings, agendas, and even sleep would not take precedence over me. If there was a break between meetings, a few minutes after breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or if a chance for a restroom break arose, he was supposed to call me. His train of thought was supposed to constantly revolve around me, and the next time he heard my voice. At last that's what I thought, and boy, was I wrong! That first year that he left was also my first experience as Psycho Wife, and I repeatedly thank him for being so sweet as to not tell any of his buddies just how psycho I was, amidst my constant crying, depression, and threatening divorce with each long awaited phone call.
Last year presented me with my first, lonely, experience in our house, and to me, the first time that I had been alone overnight during which no one would hear me scream. I had learned how to control my emotions where our long distance relationship was concerned but I hadn't come to terms with not having neighboring apartments where good, scream-hearing, life-saving people lived. And it didn't help that commercials for The Exorcism of Emily Rose were being plastered all over the television. So, while there were a few nights of lying awake, wondering when someone was going to sneak into my bedroom and strangle me, or when evil spirits were going to take possession of my body, I did manage to survive and I eventually gained control over my fears as well.
And, of course, this year does not go without its very own firsts. This will be the first year that Jon will not, technically, be leaving me alone because we now have a dog. A dog who sleeps at my feet, under covers, and will bark and growl at the littlest sounds, perhaps convincing unwanted intruders that I am Emily Rose. And he's a dog who loves being talked to and cooed at so I don't have to feel like a complete loser when I have to say something, even if it's just to make sure my vocal cords work. This is the first year that I am not fretting anything at all. I've made plans with friends, invited my little sister over for a night of chick flicks and burritos, and I look forward to a few nights of just me and Jack. Sure, I will miss my husband while he is gone, but at least I don't foresee a resurrection of Psycho Wife. I plan to keep her under wraps forever.