I can’t identify exactly when it happened. There’s not a single moment I can point to and say, “Yeah that’s when we lost ourselves.” It was more like a long series of moments. So many missed opportunities to turn toward each other.
The weight of the responsibilities we now hold just kept building. We grew weary of carrying it. At the end of the day, we’re tired and worn. We simply have no energy left to give to each other. So we convince ourselves that a good night’s rest is all we need and tomorrow we’ll talk. Tomorrow we’ll hug and kiss and maybe dance in the kitchen while cooking dinner together.
But tomorrow we are just as tired as we were, so we don’t talk and we don’t dance. Something always gets in the way. The tiredness can’t be alleviated with sleep. Days and days of this have taken us to where we are now. Together but alone. Weary and spent.
When I see that picture of us from spring break 2012 in our bathroom I feel sad. Sometimes photos portray a happiness that isn’t real. But this photo—this one has true warmth and love emanating from the day it was taken. That love is still with us now, just more of a twinkle than a beam.
I hear our song in the car and my eyes well up a little. It’s the song we used to spin around to on the dance floor after midnight drunk on alcohol but mostly love.
I often wonder if you feel the same when you come home to find me disheveled in the kitchen trying to prepare dinner, pack lunches, answer work texts, and calm a screaming child. Are you disappointed that I’m in pajamas? That I have at least one, but usually more unidentified substances on my clothes? That I smell vaguely of diaper cream and you’re pretty sure I haven’t showered in a couple of days? Do you look at me and miss the freshly showered and perfumed woman who used to have your dinner ready when you came in the door?
Remember that time we drove all the way home from St. Louis? That seemingly never-ending car ride? It started out exciting and fun, it was a best friend road trip after all! But somewhere between Oklahoma City and Texas it turned nasty. Hours in the car made us both irritable. Harsh words were exchanged and then we sat in silence. What was supposed to be a carefree ride turned sour so we just wanted to skip the rest of the drive and be home already.
That’s kind of what this stage is like. We’re in that ugly, flat, open area of land sitting in silence. But it’s OK because it’s a part of the journey. Our St. Louis drive is a great story now. We apologized, we made it home, and we celebrated. Time passed and we forgot the details of the trip. We only remember that it was hard but we did it.
And so my love, I say all this to assure you that we’ll survive again. We must learn to appreciate the landscape of where we are now. We aren’t going back to where we’ve been. This road trip of life doesn’t go in reverse. We’re moving forward. And you’ll always be my best friend.