You see, Eric and I chose to live in different states back in January: we had a flooded house that was still under construction and needed to be sold so we could move to our next assignment, my husband was working the equivalent of three full time jobs, so I was by myself anyway, my mom was diagnosed with cancer, my grandpa was having health issues and honestly, I needed to get out of Winter in North Dakota. When we packed up the minivan I had a really hard time trying to jam everything in the back seat. I kept wondering if I was making the right decision, few will know what it's like to decide that it's the best idea to take your children away from their father so that their parents can take care of things like the flooded house that kept us financially handicapped. Or to take them away from their father so that they could bring a little sunshine into their grandparents lives when life got too hard.
Not many people have to make the decision to leave their spouse right in the middle of the strongest, healthiest part of their marriage. But I needed to be with my parents because I couldn't live with myself if I wasn't there to help out my mom while she was sick. I wanted to have my boys be around their grandparents who were taking shifts at the hospital every day to care for their great-grandfather. I wanted to help, and the only way I knew how was to be there. My Munga taught me, a very long time ago, that family is family. It's the one thing you will always have. It's up to you to keep it together and keep it strong. And no matter what, you do what you can to help out your family. This is what I was supposed to do with my life and things really couldn't have come at a better time; with the house being under construction, Winter dragging on for the fifth month, and cancer, it was the hardest, but best decision for my family.
I've learned a lot in these past few months of being away from Eric. I've learned about my strengths as a woman, a parent, and a daughter. I've realized that I need some help from my partner in parenting, there are just things I cannot explain to my boys. I have fully and finally got to experience the luxury of having grandparents around for my kids from help with doctor appointments to Tuesdays at the park. I have learned that love is larger than what it appears and more than saying, "I love you".
Love is a sacrifice. It is painful. It makes you patient. It is intimate and selfless. While in Michigan, my boys have shown me different kinds of love. Not many of you will understand the love of the three year old who while playing with his friends in a fort says, "We have to hurry. Fix up the fort so we can sell it to somebody else." When I asked Henrik why he had to hurry, he said, "so we can see our daddy".
And I can't describe how painful it was to drive home from one of the best days of my son's life (seeing Thomas the Tank Engine in real life) and hear Henrik say, "I want to go to the airport and pick up Daddy". Or how much it pains me to see our 15 month old pick up a phone and say, "Hi Daddy. Want to kiss you". But their love is not just for their father. Hearing them say an unprompted, "I love you" to their grandparents or seeing their joy when they wake up and ask where Pal, Gam, Mimi, Pop Pop, Chief and Grandma are. While not having them be with their dad is painful, it brings so much happiness to me, to see them actually bond with their grandparents, an experience that they wouldn't really have if we just visited for just a couple of weeks.
A lot of people have made comments about how hard it must be to be us right now, yes. It's hard. But I have no worries or qualms about it in the end because I know that my family is going to be stronger from this whole experience. When you know you love someone you know that nothing can come in between you. When you know you're doing the right thing, love helps to ease the pain. And love keeps us going day in and day out until we can finally all be together under the same roof. I guess, Love is all you need.