It's not that I can't do this. Because what I have learned from this whole experience is that I am strong enough to get through this. It's just...I'm tired of doing it. I'm tired of the worry, the longing, the missing. I'm tired of smiling all the time, telling the kids it's ok, that I miss him too, and that soon it will be over. And the worry (and excitement!) associated with Cairo. It's all so up in the air.
But through this whole experience, I have found something I've been missing for many years. It's taken an 8,000 mile separation from my husband for me to find friendship.
It's not that I didn't have friends before, because I did. I would even say I have lots of friends. At least lots of people I know and get along with. But it has been many many years since I have had the kind of friendships that felt, well, sisterly. Someone I could tell secrets to, and giggle with, gossip with, and cry with. Watch silly TV (like BRAVO's "Real Housewives of Orange County") and hang out in sweatpants and just waste the day with. Someone I could confide my fears to; who I could call when I have that overwhelming painful achy feeling in my chest from worrying about my husband. Someone I can let my guard down with.
All these years and I let my old friendships slide away. Oh, we'd talk on the phone and promise to talk more often, but it rarely worked out that way. Or all these years of having friends at work but not getting together with them once our shift was over. All of these years I've missed out on strengthening and deepening my friendships. And somehow, I stopped looking for new friendships. Left it at the status quo and believed it was because I was too busy to be with my friends. To get together for lunch. To chat with before tucking the kids in at night. To meet up for a run at the trail, even though that was where I was headed. Why didn't I reach out?
I suppose most of these years I've worried about letting anyone see I'm not as strong on the inside as I appear on the outside. Or I was concerned about talking too much about my personal life and letting anyone see it wasn't perfect. Like I had something to prove. Like I had my stuff together and all my "ducks in a row". But in doing so, I've never shared me. And with that I've missed out.
My husband has always been my rock, my best friend. He's seen all the sides of me. All the ones I felt I could never share with anyone else.
Until now. Because when your best friend leaves you for a bit, you have to reach out. The ironic thing is, Jason has been telling me this for years. Telling me I needed to get out and have fun; meet up with friends and share stuff with. I just didn't get it.
So here I am. Finally. Years! I've spent years neglecting a very important aspect of my personal life. Friendship. I first realized it when we moved to Los Angeles. I honestly figured that those I knew in Ohio would easily forget about me. I was sad, but I thought that's what happens when you move.
And then the greatest thing happened...there were girlfriends in Ohio who reached out to me in California. Wanted to know how I was and where we were going. We chatted online and texted and made a few calls. And then I returned to Ohio.
And they were here. Listened to me talk bravely about the upcoming year and how it would be ok. And yes, I was pregnant and Jason wouldn't be home for the birth, but that was ok. They hounded me. Told me it couldn't be that easy. "It is, I swear!", I'd say. They hounded me some more. And my belly grew and the baby kicked, and I missed my husband, but I kept that chin up. My belly grew some more; I couldn't see my feet, and they called and checked on me. And I finally...gave in. Admitted it was hard and I was lonely and I felt like I was falling apart at the seams. And I was scared. Scared to give birth alone without husband, my best friend at my side.
And they laughed. Laughed at me and said they told me so! And then told me they'd be there for me. To hold my hand and tell me to push and make sure I wasn't alone. I wouldn't be alone. Why did I keep trying to do it alone!? And I realized I was an idiot.
In the end, Jason WAS able to be here for Kellen's birth, and it was a great experience. And my girlfriends were glad because truly, nobody wants to see THAT. But it taught me to reach out, to let others see the real me. In exchange, I've had the opportunity to get to know THEM and be a part of their lives. And I've even been able to rekindle friendships with girlfriends past. I've learned to keep in touch more often, even if it's just a quick chat or a text. To find out what's going on in their lives. And to be more open about how I feel and what's going on in my life.
So sure, I am tired, exhausted, painfully waiting for the return of my hubby. But I have girlfriends here who are helping to hold me up. They've always been here. I just did realize it.