But in the fall of 2011, our youngest son left for college, and my husband and I became true empty-nesters. Suddenly, the house seemed very empty and quiet when my husband was away on trips; and suddenly, there didn't seem to be as much keeping me here...other than that pesky fear of flying.
For many years, I've been promising my better half, "When the boys are grown, I'll come on trips with you." It was easy to say, because that time seemed so far in the future that it wasn't even real. But that day finally came, my friends. The rubber finally met the road (or the runway). And I finally had to decide if I was going to work past my aviophobia and accompany my husband on some of his trips. In December of 2011, a dream opportunity came up: a 4-day trip to Nice, with plenty of seats open in business class going both there and back. So I did it. I went on a trip with my husband...and it was absolutely wonderful.
When we were on a train in France, taking a short trip from Nice to Monaco, I asked my husband if, despite my wild promises, he'd ever really believed I'd someday come to Europe with him. "Nope," he said, and we both laughed. "Me neither," I replied.
But since then, I've been on a 3-day trip to Amsterdam and a 4-day trip to Athens. These trips have been the most fantastic experiences for me, having never been to Europe in the more than 50 years I've been alive. They've been great for my husband, too; because he says he's never gone on a trip--no matter how awesome the destination--where he didn't wish he could have stayed home instead. But if he has to go and I go along, too, then he gets to take home with him. Wherever we are, if we're together, then that's home--right? (Are you saying "Awwwww"? Or gagging a little?)
Anyway, I've come up with a David Letterman-style Top Ten List, outlining the top ten reasons I love going on trips with my guy.
10. My husband looks so handsome in his pilot's uniform. (This reason comes in at #10 because he looks just as handsome in his off-duty uniform of jeans, Underarmor t-shirt, cowboy hat, and black Chuck Taylor's.) 9. I finally have a feel for what my husband's life on the road is like. (He's been doing this job for almost a quarter of a century, but I never really knew all that was involved. It's a great job, but extremely demanding and tiring. I don't know how he does it!)
8. The sights from up high are simply amazing. (I was watching the airplane icon moving along its route on my little T.V. screen on the way back from Athens, and I saw that we were in the vicinity of the Alps. I grabbed my iPhone and took this awesome photo from the window.) 7. I get to see far-off places that I've only read about in books or seen in movies. (And I know my husband enjoys showing me places he's been to dozens of times himself, and getting to see them afresh through my eyes.)
6. I'm happy that I'm not home alone in my big old house--especially at bedtime. (I hear lots of unnerving nighttime noises now when my husband is away. They are usually just the normal expanding and contracting creaky sounds that are common in any house. But not long ago, I actually had a midnight intruder when my husband was on a trip: a flying squirrel that came down the chimney and scurried around downstairs before ending up in my bedroom!)
5. I get to drink European coffee! (It's so different! It's so much stronger than what I usually drink, the cream is so much creamier, and the cups are so much smaller--they don't serve it in vat-sized containers over there, like the Dunkin' Donuts large Styrofoam cups I'm used to. But I've learned to love it! When in Rome, and all that jazz.)
4. I love all the perks in business class. (If I'm going to fly, which I like about as much as getting a root canal, then I require all of that front-of-the-plane pampering: gourmet cuisine, comfy reclining seats, great pillows and blankets, in-flight new release movies on a personal T.V. screen, and pre-flight glasses of champagne. I've informed my husband that business class is how I roll. If there aren't going to be seats up front for a trip, then I'll just skip that trip, thank you very much.)
3. Being the "captain's wife" makes flight attendants treat me like visiting royalty. (I may be overstating this perk, because I think they treat everyone sitting up front like royalty. But they really are awfully nice to me!)
2. I love it when they announce over the PA that "the captain has turned on the seat belt sign," when there's turbulence or whatever. (My chest swells with pride and I feel like saying, "That's right, people. That's my husband up there, and you better do what he says." I'm so proud of my captain!)
And the #1 reason I like going on trips with my husband is...I know that it makes him happy!