Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Return

P and I have been together for 12 years, married for ten. I won't say it was love at first sight, but we were smitten within a week of our first intense meeting, arranged courteously by the Peace Corps Dating Service. Early on, we learned that we were both completely monogamous by nature and while we were capable of doing things by ourselves, we both totally preferred time spent with other people, preferably each other.

Not to turn this into a 'we were fated to be together' story, there were practical things going on when we came upon each other. We were both 27 years old when we joined the Peace Corps and had dated others pretty seriously before we met, but had not been dating much leading up to our service. I am a big believer in timing, that timing really matters when meeting a partner, and our timing was spot on. We also shared similar backgrounds: East Coasters, from biggish Catholic families (he's one of four; I'm the fifth of seven kids), prep school and Ivy League grads, with parents still married, a love of travel, etc. You might say we shared the same tribe so we understood each other well.

While we truly like hanging out together, we have never done the whole Paul-and-Linda-McCartney thing, who supposedly never spent a night apart from each other throughout their marriage, outside of a night Paul was shacked up in a cell thanks to being caught with weed. We have spent time away from each other and are good about supporting one other when opportunities arise that may not always include the other person. So when P had the chance to go to Ghana for nearly three weeks, fully funded by a grant, I said, "Yes. Go ahead." I know he would have done the same if the situation were reversed.

Recently, I've been trying to figure out what is the longest period of time we've been apart since we got together. We were placed in different sites during Peace Corps, but were lucky to be on the same island, three buses, eight hours away from each other. We worked hard to get together and I think we managed to see one another every two weeks or so. I know for certain that there have only been two occasions that we have not been in the same country since our meeting in August 1996. The first was when P had a health scare and needed to go home from Peace Corps to see a doctor in New York City to determine if he could continue his service. Those were a tough two weeks for me, not knowing if he would return, but he did, and we became engaged right after he got back to the Philippines. The second time we have been apart in two separate countries, continents, too, has been this time he spent in Africa, and if my memory serves correct-- this trip was longer than his one home during Peace Corps. Add to the scenario that we now have three children together, none of whom are self-sufficient when it comes to bathing or a few other essential life skills, and these 18 days were a looonnnnnng time.

So I ask--- Is it problematic, does it reflect a serious issue in our relationship, that all my current fantasies of my wonderful husband's return, truly my life partner, includes him (ie. not me) wrestling with a two-year-old to put on the little pip's pajamas or wiping that same toddler's seemingly potty-averse bum?


Jennifer said...

As someone who had to fish that 2 year old out of the sandbox and later out of the tub (practically by his ankles) I say you go for that fantasy girl!

Anonymous said...

Not even remotely problematic. Sounds totally normal, to me. Bedtime and bathtime are HELL alone. J gets frustrated during that time, and I am there with him.

Round about 5:00, I look at the boys and think, "I am having a third?!"

Andrea said...

I was wondering how the reunion would go down--him suffering from jet-lag and you from mom-lag...I think you need to hire a babysitter for a couple of days so you can both recover.