Diary: How Many Fishermen Partners Secretly Feel Abt Time Apart
*In the perspective of a childless woman.
Some years I miss my fishermen more than others. There were seasons I felt would never end and others that flew right by. If I had to rate my longing for Chris between one and ten (ten is the saddest), I was an eight and a half last summer. This year? A two or three.
The funny thing is that the longing doesn’t wean the longer you’re together. It can fluctuate each season, become disorienting, and make you wonder if something’s wrong with you. At least it did for me last summer. I straight up left a friend’s party because I missed “us” so badly. After five seasons of being with a Bristol Bay fisherman, I had never felt that way, and it shook me.
This year was different. Chris is actually flying home tomorrow, and I’m savoring every morsel of alone time. For the last few weeks, when people asked if I wish he were back, I’d say, “Actually, I’m good.” Because I am. This does not mean I love Chris any less. In fact, this is normal. Ask any woman whose husband recently retired, and they can relate. It’s just that it sometimes takes a while to get into your flow, but once you do, you want to keep flowin’, you know?
Let me tell you what else is normal: looking forward to your partner fishing for weeks or months at a time so you can flow like a mo’. Just between us, THAT IS THE GOOD SHIT RIGHT THERE, POCFs! Why should we feel bad about it? Love doesn’t end when they leave the dock. Actually, the relationship, in many cases, becomes stronger. That old cliche rings true: absence makes the heart grow fonder. The time apart can be an opportunity to shake off the pre-season WTFs, reorganize life, and settle into a new groove that works for you.
(If I had children, I might feel the complete opposite. If this is true for you (or not), please share in the comments below!)
For me this year, I had juuuuust settled into my routine, then Chris called with a flight home in three days. I’m excited, yet I almost feel like I’m being invaded. I’ll feel this way when I haven’t finished a list of projects before his return. It’s my own stress, really, fueled by the desire to get the house straight and stocked before he gets here. Then, of course, the guilt of having those emotions sinks in, and I have a glorious time ridding it. (Projection. Ain’t it fun?) And the thing is, Chris doesn’t care about the house or completed projects. That sweet, hardworking man just wants to be home.
Also, it’s not like Chris can help it. Getting out of Bristol Bay is a b*tch at the end of the season. Boats wait to get hauled (could take hours or days), next fishermen rush to put boats away (again, days), then scramble to find Wifi (most likely at the library, because apparently there’s a library and the only place with internet) to get tickets on a small commercial jet or, last resort, have to charter a plane…and that’s just for the first leg of the trip.
Depending on where you live, it could take up to four to five plane rides to get to a final destination. Small planes. Out of Alaska. The weather can be sketchy. The worry you shelved for next season just ticked up to turbo, and you’re vibing on high until they reach solid ground.
But what do I expect? Volatility is the nature of the industry that makes me face the extent of my control issues – like planning and obsessively organizing – and I’m working on that.
One of my solutions to this (and every) emotional ride is to journal. Try listing your favorite memories and activities from the last fishing season. The list will remind you of where you left off or what to look forward to when the season fast approaches and you’re not ready for them to leave. (*Sigh*)
(If writing isn’t your thing, it can be as cranking your favorite tunes and gettin’ the F down!)
If you’re not sure what to write, here’s an example:
Single-Life Behaviors to Look Forward to Next Season:
FINDING YOUR FLOW.
Keeping the house the way you want it.
Watching whatever you want without comment.
“Sprawling starfish on the bed.”
Eating whenever/whatever you want without having to compromise.
Not having to compromise.
BLASTING FAVORITE TUNES IN YOUR CAR. (Or not, if you like a quiet ride).
Quality one-on-one family time.
Quality one-on-one friend time.
QUALITY ALONE TIME.
A new routine you’ve only discovered since they left.
Missing your fisherman and growing fonder. 👩❤️💋👨
What are some of your favorite things to do during a season? If you’re a mom, what is your experience? Please share in the comments below!
If you liked this, you’d love the Diary of a Fish Wife series!