This past week my husband was overseas on business. He’s back now, I’m grateful for his safe return and the chocolate he brought, of course, but I’m also grateful for the time apart.
I am grateful for the little pleasures of having the house to myself: sleeping diagonally across in the bed, using his pillow/invading his space, having the cat all to myself, for my clock dictating my schedule. I’m grateful for takeout food: Jerusalem Garden, Eastern Flame, Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Washtenaw Dairy.
I’m grateful for modern technology that means I can get his cell phone in Europe by dialing a local number. I’m grateful for the time difference: when I was upset and couldn’t sleep and it was 2AM and there was no one here to talk to, I was able to reach him in his morning in Europe. Not for long, but for a moment, and it was good.
I’m grateful because absence makes the heart grow fonder. We get enough time apart to miss each other a little bit, and it breaks our routine just enough we take each other a bit less for granted.
Folks at my office teased me that the “honeymoon must be over” since I didn’t rush home to greet him the moment his flight landed. He has always traveled for work, now less so than previously, but a week apart is normal enough for us. In fact, we both kind of like the first few days. It’s hard to explain, but for the two of us, that little distance is entirely required to maintain our equilibrium between independent and partnered, the rhythm of cyclic downtime and togetherness.