Every year my Life As A Hunters Wife posts get more attention than anything else I write all year. Months after writing them I get comments from fellow hunters wives/girlfriends sharing their stories of being hunting widow. Some offer encouragement to others but most talk of the awful loneliness they feel from their significant other during hunting season.
I read each comment that comes through and some downright break my heart. Stories of husbands not attending family functions, missing out on their child's milestones, choosing hunting over a date night, and the list goes on. I think people get confused about my posts, and maybe that's my fault, but this is NOT the type of hunter my husband is.
Hunting is important to Jimmy the same as working out is important to me. He loves it, he's good at it, he's passionate about it, and it brings him great joy. However, he would NEVER miss out on family time to go hunting. Not only would he never do it because he values family and friends above all else but I would never tolerate such selfishness.
I've learned a lot over the years of being a hunters wife. I used to get angry and bitter and jealous. I used to whine or roll my eyes anytime that he left the house before sunrise on a Saturday. I remember crying on the couch one day when Jimmy got home from hunting and he asked me what was wrong and I couldn't even tell him. I didn't know why I was crying but after a good heart-to-heart about it I realized it was jealousy. I didn't have something of my own and I was jealous that Jimmy did. He encouraged me to find something that I could pour myself into and be passionate about.
Now when he leaves to go hunting I kiss him and wish him good luck. I pray for him to see a monster buck when he goes out. The kids and I usually take that time to go visit my parents or have a doughnut breakfast date. He's usually home by lunch time so then we do something together as a family.
I get lots of comments from friends and family members along the lines of, "I don't know how you do it! I wouldn't put up with that." It's really not a big deal and it's no different than husbands who golf every weekend over the summer or meet their buddies for a beer every Thursday after work. It's not that big of a deal, honestly. I think it sends a great message to the kids about patience and determination. I could never hunt because I would sit out in the cold, on a tiny tree stand seat for one hour and if I didn't see anything I'd be done. Nope, not for me.
Since I know a lot of "hunting widows" will stumble across this post at some point I want to offer you hope during hunting season. Take this time to find something YOU really love. Maybe it's a Soul Cycle class every Saturday morning or you learn a new hobby like crochet or meet a girlfriend for a coffee date. If you have kids, make this time special where they get to do something with just you that they can look forward to. Jimmy goes to South Dakota with his dad and brothers every year and that week I always let Kendall sleep in bed with me, something she really looks forward to. And, above all else, communicate with your man! Does he know how you feel? Have you voiced your disapproval of him missing out on things that are important to you?
Hunting season doesn't have to be dreaded. It can be a time for real growth both individually and as a couple. Special memories can be made during this season. If nothing else it can make you really appreciate the time you do spend together. What's the saying? Distance makes the heart grow fonder? And, if nothing else, be thankful that hunting season is only a couple months long 😉.