Travis left this morning. The 600+ mile drive back to South East Idaho has been looming over me for days. At times during his visit home, I would be so comfortable, happy and content, then like a speeding train, the fact that his visit was coming to an end would hit me and catch me completely off guard.
“Have fun while he’s here, but don’t get too comfortable.” I tell myself. “You can’t afford to fall apart when he leaves.”
This whole process has taught me a lot about myself. I’ve always felt like a strong person, but with our family being apart I’ve felt weak. And I’ve felt completely aloof because of it. It’s embarrassing for me to admit that I am weak without my partner, because I work so hard at being an individual in our marriage. On the other hand, I’m being continually reminded that I made the right choice when I married Travis. Our genuine love and overall care for one another is so special to me. And it’s something I struggle to physically live without when we are apart. I am coming to realize that it’s no weakness to acknowledge I am stronger with my partner by my side.
Our whole situation was put into perspective for me a few weeks ago. I was just finishing “Love Warrior” by Glennon Doyle Melton. In her memoir she tells a story called “The Gift of the Magi.” In her words,
It is a story of a couple with so little money and so much love that she sells her beautiful hair so she can buy him a watch chain, and he sells his prized pocket watch so he can buy hair combs for her. They each sacrifice the object in which their identity is wrapped and they are left with nothing remaining to prove their worth to the world. But they have proved their worth to one another. They are lovers of each other, and that identity is truer than was her beauty or his status. They are left with the truth and the truth is love.
I realized that when Travis and I made the decision to temporarily live in different states we were giving each other the one thing that the other needed. He needed the gift of time. Time to study, work and progress towards finishing his Master’s Degree. I needed to be closer to family. I needed to set down roots in the place I love. I needed culture, art, museums, pine trees, the drizzly sky, the revolting smell of fish on the Sound, skyscrapers, fresh sushi and everything else that comes with the ultimate Western Washington life. I needed to be home.
While we are apart and giving up time together, we are ultimately left with the truth. The bare bones of love. And the fact is that although we are absolutely bound together by marriage, we are still two individuals fighting for our own hearts and fighting for each other’s. While we are united in the sights we have for our future, only our individual selves can make it happen, so this is the path we’ve chosen to take.
So here we are, starting round #2 of our long distance marriage, moving onward and keeping our chins up. Everyday that our family is apart is another day towards our bright future that we’ve been striving towards!
As far as life with a toddler…I take it day by day. It can be rough! But I am optimistic now that things have settled down a bit! Beckham is enrolled in his first round of tumbling and is enjoying the YMCA just as much as I am! He calls it “Mommy’s new gym,” but really it is his gym too! The Y is so family oriented, it is a perfect fit for us! I am also loving my job as a Health Coach at the Y. I meet new people every day and share my love for fitness and healthy living. It’s a wonderful and fulfilling job!
Overall, this transition to living in Washington and being away from Travis has been chaotic and stressful, but it has also been happy. That ache in my soul that was pulling me from Idaho to Washington has left, and I feel so content here. I am still pinching myself when I wake up in the mornings. I can’t believe we live in this wonderful place!