I write this post on the fifth day of my husband being out of town for a work conference. It has not been the longest or worst week of my life, but we have definitely felt his absence. We have moped around the house during the day and slept fitfully at night. Family dinners have degenerated into microwaved leftovers eaten around the coffee table while we binge watch Brady Bunch.
It is painfully obvious to me by the end of this week how very much we need this guy in our life.
At first I took this need as a sign of moral failure.
As a modern woman, shouldn’t I be capable of managing on my own?
Am I a failure as a feminist because I need my man in my life to thrive?
Am I a co-dependent wreck?!?
As I was mulling over these thoughts late at night while Not Sleeping, I started remembering the last time my husband and I were apart for so long.
I realized it was exactly ten years ago this week.
Instead of going away for a week long work trip, my husband had gone to China for two weeks to adopt our 13 month old daughter. When we began our adoption process we had assumed that this was a trip we would take together as a family. However fate chimed in and I ended up staying at home to recover from a C-Section and care for our five week old son while my husband boarded a jet plane bound for the Far East.
I didn’t sleep much during that absence either. I remember nursing my son in my parents recliner during the wee hours of the morning and waiting night after night for the phone to ring. I remember the tearful awe in my husband’s voice when he told me he had our daughter. How I gave my sleepy son a baby high five. And a few nights later I remember how I heard my daughter’s laugh for the first time even though she was half a world away.
As painful as it was to be apart during the time my husband welcomed our daughter into our family, I also remember how wonderful it was when we all were finally back under the same roof. After crashing into an exhausted sleep that first night, my jet lagged duo had awoken during the night and moved to the living room for a play session and snack. When my son and I awoke early the next morning, we snuck into the living room to find my husband and daughter passed out on the floor mid play. I climbed into our recliner and snuggled my son in to nurse and nap. As we all drifted in and out of sleep, rain from a tropical storm I didn’t even know was hitting poured on our roof and windows. As the rain fell and wind howled, all I could do was give thanks that we were together, safe and dry in this same room, even though we were surrounded by a storm.
As we have gone through this tender and emotional week, that memory keeps coming back to me. The feeling of togetherness that made all the challenges and difficulty of raising two kids under 15 months worth facing and conquering. No matter how hard the storms of life raged, at least we were facing them together, a truth that seemed to outweigh all other factors.
In light of that, I have decided that it is okay that I have missed my husband like crazy this week. And I’m not necessarily a co-dependent wreck for doing so.
It is just that as people, we simply need each other. And the sooner we realize this truth and lean into interdependency, the better off we will be.
But this is not just a truth meant for families.
I am coming to believe that our interdependency is more universal than we could even imagine.
As my tender heart breaks watching Iraqis chase other Iraqis up mountains and slaughter their own neighbor’s children.
As I hear with sadness and grief how a policeman killed a youth from his own town, splitting the town in two with anger and fear.
As I watch our world war with and hurt its own self, I shake my head and weep. For I don’t really know how to answer any of these problems. Heck I can barely get myself through my own day.
But I do know this.
Whether we are from the same part of the world or not, are the same religion or not, or have the same color of skin or not.
We still are dependent on each other to thrive in this world.
We cannot be cut off from each other.
We certainly cannot cut each other out.
The only way to get through this life is to get through it together.
Even as I pray to be re-united with the man I love, I pray for re-unification for so many. For nations at war, for cities in strife, for all of us that do not realize we need to be connected with the Iraqi children and young African American men who are in danger as well as the wrongdoers who persecuting them.
Maybe peace and reconciliation and restoration come to us all.