They say that distance makes the heart grow fonder.
I don’t know about that, but I do know that it made my heart more patient. For the past year, my husband has been working out-of-town five days a week. It has been tough to say the least. We prepared ourselves for months for his absence, but we faced way more challenges than we ever imagined.
When my husband is home, we are a team. When one of us gets tired or frustrated, we tag the other one in to take over. With him being gone, I was my own team. When exhaustion or frustration set in, I just had to grit my teeth and bear it. Even when it felt like I just couldn’t do it. Even when dinner exploded in the microwave, the dog threw up on the floor, the kids were making a disastrous mess in every single room and screaming at each other. I’d smell a dirty diaper, and didn’t know which situation to assess first.
Weekends could get really tricky. I didn’t get many mom breaks. Not even for five minutes because I was doing this alone and living as a single mother who wasn’t single. On the weekends, I would want to soak in all of the time with my husband I could get, which meant even longer without a mom break since we did everything as a family. So every blue moon, I would feel guilty staying behind when he would take the kids to do things or when I would go out with my girlfriends. I would feel awful because I was trading in a few of our 48 hours together to get some peace. I felt guilty for not being with him and I wanted to be, but I needed some time without the kids.
Every single day our son would do a daddy countdown. “Only four more days until daddy comes home!” It would break my heart every time. He always asked if his daddy would be able to see him get off the bus for school or go to his practices, and his head would hang down when I would tell him not this week. I knew it hurt my husband’s heart, too. The separation hurt them the most. Fortunately, I think it brought them even closer together if that’s possible. They were always a very tight duo, but now they are inseparable.
One of the few good things about being away from each other is that it made the time we spent together much more special. It was like a celebration every minute we spent together. Distance made us realize how petty some of the little arguments were that we used to have. Things that normally would bug us about each other just didn’t seem like a big deal anymore because we didn’t want to spend what precious time we had together arguing even for a second. Even now that he is home, we still can’t find anything worth bickering over because we realized how much more important it is to be on the same page than it is to be right. We realized that we don’t have to agree on everything, we just have to respect and love each other. We have learned a lot in this past 12 months and as difficult as it has been, I wouldn’t take it back for the world.
Although I am glad that the long distance part of our marriage is finally over, I am grateful for what all it gave us. We learned how to appreciate each other so much more. We are much more patient with each other and careful with our words. We are so much more loving towards one another than we ever were before. I learned that I can do it on my own, but I don’t ever want to. The long distance taught me that I am much stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. I have always known my love for my husband was strong, but now I know it is bulletproof. We have been tested so much in our marriage already, but I am confident that there is nothing the two of us can’t get through.