(Love you +1…forever and ever. Maybe even longer.)
You’re kindness, patience, wit, determination, and spontaneous sense of adventure have enriched our lives for the better. We aim higher, work harder, and love more deeply because of you.
We love you so very much, Fitz.
We love you for all the times in which you ask how you can help.
We love you for the many nights of hard work you spend at the office, in an airport, and in the classroom.
We love you because you are hell-bent on living this life to the fullest.
We love you because no idea is off limits.
We love you because of your remarkable generosity.
We love you because you see all the ways in which we are crazy and yet you still look around and go, “Yep, I dig this family.”
I always knew you to be extraordinary…
To no one’s surprise, you are knocking it out of the park as a dad. Everyday you are extraordinary.
Happy Father’s Day, my loves.
I am no expert on the subject of long distance relationships- not even close. Fitz has always had a job that requires travel so that’s all I have known in the 8 years that we have been together…but I’m not sure that qualifies as long-distance since we technically live together in the same house.
The short answer? Yes, I absolutely get emotional and turn into a hot mess from time to time.
Last year, Fitz spent my birthday at a conference in San Francisco.
In April, he traveled for 10 days straight, heading to the Masters for work, a bachelor party down south, and then a conference in the Midwest. Since January, he has had about 4 week-long travel occasions (which is basically the equivalent of being spouse-less for a month).
This past February, I lit a candle that sat atop a teeny tiny cupcake and sang Happy Birthday to Wells, who had just turned 1. Fitz was in school the entire weekend.
Just over a week ago, I walked into a wedding solo. Fitz had exams, so he showed up later, about halfway through the reception.
Those are not my most favorite moments.
For me, the greatest joy in relationships comes from experiencing the world together…whether it’s big occasions like Christmas dinners with a house full of family, or more simple moments, like having a cup of coffee. That companionship is a big deal. I knew that Fitz was ‘the one’ because when we were together, I had never had so much fun in my entire life…whether we were lazily sprawled on the couch debating our favorite movies, or having him surprise me with a trip to Las Vegas and a bucket list-worthy concert (Elton John).
So what do you do when someone is absent in those moments?
I employ a few methods:
1. Load up my social calendar. Play dates, coffee and convo with old friends, hit up the beach, stroll the Botanic Gardens, etc. My schedule is reflective of a stay-at-home mom, but whatever your occupation and its schedule, I suggest filling in the gaps…lunch hour with a pal, glass of wine with your cousin that works nearby, window-shopping at a really incredible store, tackle some home improvement, etc.
2. Work with the time you do have together- with a 3-hour time difference, that is hella tough. But focus on the most convenient part of the day to reach out for some catching up or a considerate ‘thinking of you’ text. Also? Email. He can check it when it’s most convenient, and I love getting emails from Fitz…he sends me articles that he thinks I may like, suggests ideas for new home projects, shares amazing hotel links for some-day travel, and also just sends silly nonsense to make me smile (exhibit A). Any gesture that says, ‘you’re on my mind’ goes pretty far with me.
3. Immerse yourself in a new hobby (painting, perhaps? :). I have a whole slew of things I want to do…learn how to play the guitar, work some knitting needles into gorgeous scarves, re-paint my guest room, design photo books, etc. When I sense my pity-party moments coming on, I try throwing energy into something that will require focus and persistence. The art of distraction helps tremendously!
4. Smile and push on through it. This is easier said than done…because I have had many lonely nights as the spouse of a traveling executive. As much as I can jam-pack my schedule and send sweet texts, that doesn’t change the fact that when my son goes to bed, I am in the house, on lock down, for the remainder of the evening. And since that time would normally be reserved for Fitz + me, it can feel very somber. I have broken down and cried during those times before. I once watched an episode of The Office titled ‘Lice’ that dealt with Pam’s struggles to be on her own, with kids, and without Jim and I cried like a baby while laughing at the jokes, because it hit way too close to home (the being alone part, not the lice…gross).
But I have also had really great moments in living this kind of life. I’ve had girlfriends come over for wine, apps, and all sorts of naughty conversations. I’ve eaten cheese for dinner and watched a whole slew of ridiculous Bravo tv shows. I’ve gotten into a great writing rhythm and cranked out poetry, memoir chapters, and brainstormed children’s book titles. I’ve sat on my patio, reading books and drinking wine on warm summer evenings, absolutely relishing the solitude. And because of Fitz’s frequent travel, I’ve enjoyed a lot of travel perks. So while I can readily
bitch complain about many things, there is always a silver lining to consider.
Life, and relationships, are pretty emotional. If your long distance relationship is feeling particularly tough…it’s perfectly okay to let the waterworks flow. There is no shame in that game. But know when enough is enough. Dry those pretty eyes, square your shoulders, lift that chin up, and move on with your day. Happiness is a choice and you can choose it, even when you are a very dark place.
And when all else fails…perspective. I am quick to consider what life must be like for military families, where people are deployed far away for much longer than Fitz’s measly 10-day trips. I also recall some relatives who made an important career decision early on in their marriage, whereby the husband lived in New York Monday through Friday, and flew home to Chicago on weekends to be with his wife and children. Considering those lifestyles helps me shut up when I begin to complain about my struggles. :)
Hope this helps. Apologies for rambling.
Hugs and good thoughts to you…
|—||Jack Kerouac (via leslieseuffert)|
My sister is the best damn thing around. If you don’t know, well…now you know.
Today we celebrated her 30th birthday (which is actually tomorrow), with a sisters + sons lunch date.
I went over the top as a party planning committee of one: hot pink birthday sign on my front door, half dozen sunshine yellow balloons in hand, pale pink blooms, a bow larger than a watermelon, and a mission to make the birthday girl feel special.
(quick backstory: my sister’s party throwing abilities are the stuff of legends. She carefully selects themes, gets choosy over cuisine, and manages every last bit of confetti’d decor. One simply can’t top the best of the best, but I really wanted to make a go of celebrating her milestone b-day with everything she loves)
We loaded the boys up in wagons/push buggies, strolled for exercise + fresh air, stopped into a favorite market, and traded loads of home decor and renovation ideas (sissy just bought a new home!).
As we munched on mini-lobster rolls, nuts and cheese, and assorted macarons, we giggled and chased tiny toddlers. Happy birthday was sung, cards were read, and eyes were wide when she laid eyes on the double jogging stroller, topped with the aforementioned huge-ass bow. Our conversations steered toward ‘remember that..?!’ and evolved into pulling old photo albums off the shelf. I excitedly showed her my new Stuart Weitzman heels, and she started giddily throwing out ideas for an uber-adventurous sister trip…perhaps Italy, part II?!
It was a day of fun and frivolity but what tugged at my heart the most was when Erin declared it “the very best birthday lunch that ever was.”
I agree, sister.
Happy birthday to you.
Golden girl with an edge.
Image via StyleSaint