Living with someone who is away almost as much as he is home, can be less than ideal. Even though the hello’s can be pretty damn fantastic, the good-byes are always tough and most of the time I’m a big wimp when he’s gone. The past month has been especially rough. In addition to his normal travel schedule, he had extra trips thrown in that left me home alone for all but nine out of 32 days. During this time I decided to find things to be grateful for in his absence.
1. Unlimited access to TLC programming – This month I was able to clear out the list of recorded shows that are my guilty pleasure. It was a marathon of “Long Island Medium”, “Say Yes to the Dress”, and “90 Day Fiancee”. We don’t watch these shows together for obvious reasons. He doesn’t ask me to watch those crime shows either so it’s fair.
2. Menu-less meals – Although it hasn’t been the best thing for me physically, there is something nice about a bowl of popcorn or a peanut butter sandwich for dinner every once in a while. Living with someone who loves to cook has spoiled me so when he’s away, I choose not to use the stove. It wouldn’t be as tasty anyway.
3. Saving money on toiletries – To be honest, I don’t use a lot of shaving cream when I’m home alone. Eliminating this one chore from my day saves not only money but a lot of time and if I don’t have to go to the office, there’s no need for make-up either, or even a change of clothes. (I should find a way to track the savings. It could be substantial.)
4. Reconnecting with my inner child – Once I found the perfect number of pillows to surround myself with at night, it felt a bit like sleeping in the fort I built as a child. Of course, I disassemble the structure before he gets home. He might think I’ve lost my mind to see what our bedroom looks like when he’s away.
5. Enthusiastic housecleaning – Without fail, the day he travels back fills me with the urge to deep clean our home. I throw the windows open, turn the music up and do my best cleaning on this day. This might have something to do with the state of disarray the above-mentioned activities create after a few days.
I’m extremely aware of how lucky I am to have something that makes time spent apart so difficult. It’s easy for me to create long lists of things I’m grateful for on a daily basis. Occasionally, it’s nice to remind myself to look for moments of gratitude in the hidden spaces of my life too.
I’m sorry if I offend you, but I will no longer apologize. From this day forward, I will not temper my comments or hold back my enthusiasm. If I wake up happy because I’m lying beside the love of my life or I wake up sad because he’s half way around the world, I’m going to say it. If a text message brings a spontaneous smile to my face, I’m going to show it. If tears fill my eyes and a lump gathers in my throat because I’m humbled by the children God trusted to my care, I’m going to feel it. If I’m suddenly overwhelmed by this amazingly beautiful life that I’m living, I’m going to share it. And if that makes you uncomfortable, well, that’s on you, not me. Life is short. Love is fabulous. Laughter is healing. And the uncensored spontaneous expression of happiness is Joy. I will no longer dilute my expression to suit your needs. I don’t say this selfishly. This isn’t an ego thing. It isn’t boasting or bragging. This is living life authentically from the heart. This is feeling it all deeply, letting it in, and loving it out. This is learning that I am worthy, lovable, capable, and deserving. This is finally realizing that life isn’t meant to be a struggle, that we are here to experience joy and to live our lives in the fullest expression of that joy. I am aware of how blessed my life is and grateful each and every day for these blessings. For this reason, I will no longer apologize or hold back. Because I know how special this is, I wish this for you too. I wish for you the feeling that I wake up with each day and say thanks for each night. I wish for you to know what crazy stupid love feels like. To have a heart so full you feel it might burst and then to feel it expand even more. I wish for you the desire to stand high on a mountain and exclaim at the top of your voice how much you love Love! I wish for you to feel your Soul dancing inside your body. To love and be loved unconditionally and without reservation. I wish for you to be so overwhelmed with a heart so wide open that the thought of containing all that emotion is exhausting to the point that you give up. You give up and say unapologetically and lovingly, “This is me and I will no longer apologize.”
Somehow we as a society have come to believe that love is a given based on the nature of some relationships. The idea that family is forever, a mother’s love is unconditional, blood is thicker than water, etc, etc, have created a false sense of what love actually is.
For those whose blood-based connections are anything less than supportive and loving, there is a feeling of inadequacy and loss. If you were raised up to feel that love is conditional, you’re left with only yourself to blame when that love is withheld. Hallmark cards covered with quotes glorifying a mother’s love, sibling connections, and the ever present bond of family, only add insult to injury.
In reality, some of the deepest pain is inflicted by the closest relationships. Family is not necessarily forever, some mothers love conditionally, and blood has little to do with how we treat each other. This idea of “family equals love” has created an entitlement attitude where relatives carelessly take each other for granted.
The bottom line is this: If it hurts, it isn’t love. It matters not at all who the relationship is with. Call it something else, but don’t call it love.
Love comes from within and radiates out. Love yourself enough that you no longer allow those without love for you to affect your sense of self. Ultimately, it has little to do with you. Surround yourself with those who radiate love and the family you were born to be a part of will emerge. ❤