During those first quarantine months of COVID, Mark and I frequently commented on how much it felt like our Airstream adventure. We were all together, all the time. There wasn’t much time for personal interest or solitude. At times you feel like you might suffocate from too much family time. We all love our families but our threshold for how much we can be around them is different for everyone.
When we traveled last time, I think the number one response from my friends was “How can you handle being around your husband all day everyday?” I wonder post COVID if they feel this more or less? Mark and I have a pretty good relationship. And since 2020 have both worked from home together. So our orbits are always aligned. If I’m being honest, I very much missed him going into the office and my working from home alone time. There’s something cherished about having a small part of your day unknown to your spouse. Not in a secretive way but more in a keeping a bit of the mystery of your partner alive sort of way.
Then and now, we see everything, hear everything, smell everything…nothing about our life can be edited. When I make a mistake or error, there’s no “whew, glad Mark didn’t see that” before I can clean it up. All failures are out in front for all of us to see and respond to. Both with helpful hands and critical eyes.
This allows us to grow in our grace for each other. Unite in our wins more, and in our failures. It can be beautiful, if we let it. But it’s not without pain.
The emotions this time are much harder. With little kids and babies, the needs are usually more of a necessity. Are they tired, hungry, need a diaper changed, some movement?
This time with the added elements of schooling and the emotions of missing relationships and activities from home, it’s led to some more complex struggles that can’t easily be fixed. Those struggles in fact are often amplified by the fact that you’re “stuck in a foreign country with only your family”. Many days this house could be anywhere and its just a house that’s holding all of us in it. Not very much of an adventure. It is indeed beautiful and painful at the same time.
I’m quite sure that we’ll all get through the proximity challenges of this year. The highlights will allow those frustrations to fade from our minds over time. But while what we’re doing seems glamorous to some, its not without its challenges and complexities.