I know you might think, ‘Didn’t she just get back from somewhere?’ when reading this post, and you’d be right. But sometimes you have to do crazy things to, well, make life that bit more interesting. Like fly for 13 hours to basically have dinner with your husband.
I think most pilot’s wives would agree that being married to a man who continually packs his suitcase and jets off to the other side of the world with a kiss and a wave isn’t always easy. There’s the absences, the jetlag, the readjustment period when he gets back and the jealousy (yes, that’s me. It can be challenging being gracious when he’s headed to Hong Kong and the furthest I’ll get is the supermarket with two fractious kids in tow).
But his job does come with an enormous perk that I try to make use of, because I absolutely love travelling (well maybe not the actual travel-with-kids bit, but the getting there and seeing new places). The perk – and don’t go off me – is the ability, if the stars align, to go to work with him.
This week, several things including babysitters in town, time off from my office-job and space on the airplane (both ways!), amazingly, came together and so Monday morning saw me rising early to catch his flight to Amsterdam sans kiddos.
“Now don’t go crazy on the packing,” he told me, the night before. “It’s only 24 hours, remember.”
And packing (without having to think about the children) was indeed a breeze, as was skipping off to the airport without my usual checklist of things the kids will need to keep them entertained, fed and subdued on a long flight.
After seven blissful hours on board, we arrived in Amsterdam and immediately set out on a whistlestop tour, taking in the canals, bikes and houseboats. “Let’s go,” I urged, determined to see as much as possible. “I think we’ve got three hours of daylight left!” The next morning, we had another couple of hours before it was game-over and time to get back on the plane.
I love flying with my DH at the controls. We met when we were 15 – we lived through the Top Gun years together, when aviation was a twinkle in his eye; we listened to Pink Floyd’s Learning to Fly endlessly. Our married life started with him working as a flight instructor, teaching kamikaze pilots how to restart a stalled engine – in the air. Then, after a year of gruelling interviews during the post-9.11 airline slump and finally getting the break he deserved, came the miniscule salary paid to first officers on regional jets in the US.
It’s been one helluva (in a good way) journey, and to say I’m proud of him for making it to the helm of the A380 superjumbo is an understatement.
“Did you enjoy Amsterdam?” he asked after our trip, as I wearily got out of bed to return to work after arriving back past midnight.
“What did you think of my landing?”
I loved it DH – and I loved our long-distance Valentine’s treat.