Lately things have been a bit off.
Some days I look at the man I married and I swear I might explode with how much love I have for him.
I often wonder how I got so lucky and my heart swells with the thought of what a wonderful role model our kids have in him.
I look around at all he does for us and its all I can do not to happy cry at what we have, what I never thought I’d find.
My heart is here, in our forever incomplete, chaotic home filled with laughter and chit chat from the forever talking teenage girl we share.
Then there the other days.
The days he drives me utterly wild, pushes me to the very limits of my patience. On those days I swear if he ever died under suspicious circumstances, I would be number 1 suspect and the reason would be purely because he’d made another stupid joke at a completely inappropriate time.
Mostly though, it’s not as extreme as murderous frustration. I’d just really like to push him that little bit so that he steps in that dog poop that still hasn’t been cleaned off the footpath on our street..
We’ve been struggling.
Somewhere along the way we fell off the same page that we’re usually so happily on.
While mostly our differences complement the other’s and bring strengths where the other ones weaknesses lie, they have a tendency to also bring frustration, misunderstanding and conflict.
B is the most calm, quiet, patient, laid back human being there maybe ever was. He’s an introvert where I am an extrovert. That means he retreats inside himself to recharge, where I need to vocalise my feelings. Get them out in order to feel any kind of relief.
I am loud, impatient, anxious, detail oriented and while sometimes but not always in the form of reassurance, I need words.
We have many similarities, but lately it seems like we have more and more differences.
It has begun to feel like every conversation we have ends in conflict – it doesn’t matter what that conversation is.
We’re bickering constantly.
Misunderstandings are running rife and honestly, we just don’t really like each other.
One of the reasons we have always worked so well is because we communicate so openly. Right from the very day we met, nothing has ever been off limits.
Somewhere, somehow, that changed.
I love B with all my heart, but I’ve been feeling lonely and misunderstood and exhausted and I think maybe he’s been feeling the same way.
This weekend the bigger kids were with their mum, and Alex with his dad. It was just the two of us and Coops.
We decided that instead of being at home and focussing on catching up on the chores like we usually do on our “off” weekends, we needed to get out. To get away.
We tried to book an AirBnB, but it was cancelled at the last minute. The owners needed to repaint one of the bedrooms. We settled on a day trip to a small town a couple of hours away. My mum was unexpectedly there for the weekend so we took Coops up for some Nanny time.
Cooper fell asleep in the back fairly quickly after we left, and our trip was silent in a way our road trips never are.
Eventually I exploded and asked how he could be so ok with the way we were so not ok.
It sparked an open and honest conversation, one neither of us could leave (without jumping from a speeding car) but more importantly, one in which both of us agreed to really listen to what the other had to say.
What we realised is that our issues began when our communication ceased.
It wasn’t intentional.
Life is busy. With so many kid schedules to keep up with, groceries to buy, our out of sync morning and evening schedules – we stopped really talking.
Mostly I think it began in a bid to protect the other.
Neither of us want to spend the little time we do find together ranting about the injustices of our days and when we do – at least when I do lately, it’s always followed by heavy feelings of guilt.
He copes so well with his laid back nature. I want him to see that I can be calm and laid back too – so I’ve been trying to ignore my struggles, to pretend they’re not there, and though the intention is the complete opposite, I find myself feeling like I’m drifting further and further away from him.
It was in that car, on that sunny drive we realised that we don’t need to protect each other from each other.
Our strength lies in our togetherness.
Our ability to lean on the other when we need to.
Our understanding that sometimes life is tough, and the reason we’re both here is because we want to be able to help each other through those rough patches.
There is an unintentional resentment that comes when you start to keep things from one another. Even though it was a choice we both made, that’s easily forgotten on the worst days and instead we’re convinced we can’t share – that the other doesn’t want to hear about it.
The human mind eh?!
I’ve often caught myself daydreaming about being an old lady with my grey hair loosely held up in a bun on a comfy chair with my grandchildren all gathered around, while I tell them about the Great Love that I had with their grandfather. The kind of love that you could write songs about.
For a while I had started to wonder if I might never get there.
We took the first steps this weekend.
This afternoon as we rushed from the train station to the car to pick Cooper up from daycare, to get him home, fed, bathed and in bed before he hit overtired, he held my hand while we rushed.
A little tighter than usual. Tight enough that it felt like it was on purpose and not just out of habit.
We’re going to be alright.
Our stars are still there. They’ve just been hiding under all of the things we think we’ve been feeling like we should be, instead of just being the things that we are.
With every rough patch comes a choice. A choice to walk away, or a choice to keep trying.
Our wedding rings are a reminder that we promised to always make the choice to find each other again.
To keep fighting for each other and not against.
To keep working it out.
Love, we’re going to be just fine.