You know when you ride a roller coaster and they sell those “I survived The —– Coaster” tshirts? Wait, do they actually do that in real life? Or is it one of those ‘just on tv’ things?
Anyways, I feel like my husband and I deserve a shirt or something because of our huge accomplishment in surviving a long distance relationship.
Long distance relationships are close to my heart.
Probably because for four and a half years my heart was in one. For four and a half years my now-husband and I lived out our 100% of our dating relationship and engagement a plane ride away from each other. Our average span of time not seeing each other was anywhere from two to three months, with the longest being six months during a deployment.
Now, over eight years together, nearly four years of marriage, a few different addresses, and a toddler later, here we are.
That’s very much over-simplifying it. I’m not saying they work out all of the time and I’m sure as heck not saying they’re even remotely easy or convenient. Long distance relationships are work and pain. They’re tests and trials and heartbreak. They’re incredibly lonely and teach you a heck of a lot about yourself and the one you love. They’re based solely on communicating with a person you oftentimes don’t or can’t actually communicate with. Yeah…
But they are sweet.
Oh, they are sweet.
And our finish line, our grand celebration that we did it, we made it, we survived it; our tshirt so to speak?
That was our wedding day.
I would get a text with a, “hiiiiiii, how was your day?” And while it may not seem like much, after not seeing him via the computer or talking to him for a few days other than sporadic texts, it made me smile in the middle of what I was doing. With distance you don’t take for granted simple things like, talking in an audible voice, for example. You go about your days completely separated by miles and even time zones. You live your own lives both together at heart but completely separated. I remember blushing and smiling like a little giddy teenager when I would see his face on skype or hear his voice on the phone, and when I finally got to see him after weeks or months? Indescribable.
We had a gift, this distance thing. A gift that I so-often ignored or looked-over. A gift that now, years and years after surviving it, feel like such a distant memory. One that got covered up by whining and moaning and complaining about missing him. I had lessons and appreciation for the littlest things and a unique love every time we’re together again. I’m not saying I always loved going months without seeing my boyfriend or fiance or that I would wish this on other people. I didn’t and I definitely wouldn’t. It was terrible. And that’s an understatement.
But I am saying that it has shaped us, molded us, stretched us, tore us apart and built us closer together. It tested us. I’m saying that it has strengthened our relationship, our hearts as individuals and the bond when we are together. We got a chance that so many other people don’t. And I consider that a blessing. We got new lessons and gratitude for the times we did get to spend together. We got to carry something beautiful into our marriage and chapters filled with memories of airport hugs and blissful reunions. And that is a gift only time apart can give to us both as a partnership and as individuals. When our daughter is grown, we’ll tell her all about the times that mama and dada spent apart. We’ll marvel at all our airport kisses and tears, all the memories. When we’re eighty and our shells have wrinkled, when our hearts are full and our bodies are tired, we’ll remember our start. We’ll marvel at our foundation that brought us to where we are now and everything between. Because without it, we wouldn’t be us and we certainly wouldn’t be here.
So, I am thankful.
I am appreciative.
I am pro long distance.