Have you ever taken a huge leap of faith for love? Let me tell you, I have. Using the word “faith” may be lending myself a little too much credit. Faith is the absence of fear and I was scared.
It was time for me to make a decision concerning my (then) domestic partnership with my wife. We had met later in life and it was perfect timing for both of us to find our forever mate. Right away we knew we would be together forever. It was a conscious decision we made. It was a remarkable one for me, in particular. I was 37 years old and had lived alone the majority of my adult life. Aside from a few scattered roommates, I was a lone wolf. I had cohabitated briefly with a couple of women when I was in my early 20’s, but after break-ups left me having to pick up and leave my home, I got my own home and vowed that things would now be on my terms. So for years, the relationships I got involved in weren’t really the grown-up kind. Looking back, I see I picked the partners who weren’t ready because I wasn’t ready. But that’s another post in itself.
So what could possibly come in between two people who were all grown up and ready to create a life together? We lived in two different states. On the surface, this seems like small potatoes when it comes to true love. In many cases, it would be. But when you have one woman who has three children in which she shares custody with her ex-partner (making it difficult to relocate) and an only child who lived virtually her whole life in the same town with friends she has had since nursery school, it becomes a bit bigger than that. Not to mention that my wife was living in Kansas City and I was totally a small town Arkansas girl. Traveling is part of my livelihood and I have been all over but I never counted on having to change my home base. Couple this with the fact that most of my relationships had been dismal failures and I dug my toes steadfast into the Arkansas soil. I was going nowhere.
My wife is so amazing. She never pushed me to move although I knew it was what she wanted. Her work and her custody arrangement allowed her to travel to see me and she did so religiously. Every other week for two years, she arrived faithfully. Never a mention of being tired or frustrated, never giving ultimatums. While I visited her as well, my work schedule didn’t allow for a very long visit on the weekends with a four hour drive between us. So she drove-and drove. Every other weekend she would bring the children, too. The girls went to school in Kansas City and she had them 7 days on, 7 days off. So we spent every other 7 days together. In the summer, the girls spent all their alotted days with us in Arkansas.
I don’t know when it was that I decided I was going to leave my home. I remember us having a conversation at one point when I reiterated that I didn’t want to move. I waited for her to throw her hands up. I waited for her to be exasperated. I would have been. But instead she said “Then I will just keep driving.” You have to know my wife to know she is hardly a pushover. She is one tough cookie and has confidence and determination I only wish I had. She also isn’t a quitter. So it was sometime after this conversation that I started thinking about making the move. If she was willing to keep driving for me, then I was willing to take a risk for her. Leaving my home, family and lifelong friends was a petrifying thought. I always said that I didn’t want to live in a city. I didn’t want to live away from my parents who enjoyed having me close by. Truth is, the vulnerability it took for me to uproot myself and depend on someone else was overwhelming. But I knew that if I was going to marry this person, we would always be in this thing together. I had to finally put the needs of our relationship ahead of my own needs.
I have often wondered if my wife really would have kept driving forever, or if she quickly honed in on the fact that ultimatums make me run like the wind. She is no dummy. I proudly wear my only-child syndrome like an honor badge and I have to do things on my terms. She may have pulled a reverse-psychology move. Either way, it worked. Here I am in Kansas City. The transition was tough but I have never been happier. Not only do we have a happy marriage with four great kids, but I have a newfound confidence in my ability accept change. More than anything, I have realized that home is wherever we are-together.