I don’t come here as routinely as I should — but when I come, I find myself circling back to the same ideas: living with MS, living life and who I am. I am fascinated with life’s path, God’s plan — how I have become me. I have moved and changed and morphed so many times, and often, there have been no constants to compare the passing of time. I am enthralled with the permanence that now exists in my life and how it has shaped me, but also how it has helped frame my life.
The hubs and I have lived in our apartment for nearly six years. Surprisingly enough, that’s the longest I’ve ever lived in one place. I think back on our relationship, the struggles we’ve faced, the triumphs we’ve experienced, the moments of laughter and the quiet despair of the tears. The day we were married and we celebrated in our back yard. The day we brought Lucy home. The day I was diagnosed with MS. The day we bought our new home. This little apartment is embedded with our joint life. It hurts my heart a little to think of leaving it — even though the idea of owning our own space is thrilling.
When John and I found this little space, I was unemployed and he was in a job that was slowly strangling his soul. We had weeks when we could barely afford groceries, let alone gas for our cars. Every piece of furniture was a hand-me-down, a dumpster dive or a piece from the salvo. We wore clothing we’d owned for years. But in many ways, we were insanely happy — being together, falling asleep each night to the rhythm of the other’s breath. Slowly we changed jobs, we worked doggedly at paying down our (massive) debt, we bought new clothing, we were able to shop at regular grocery stores instead of discount ones. All those milestones are marked in our memory of this apartment, and how it allowed us to stabilize ourselves over the years, and eventually (dare I say it) prosper a little bit.
Our first year was a rollercoaster ride of transitioning out of the restaurant business — learning that we had to feed ourselves, budget our paychecks, learn to cook. Somehow, we figured out how to be semi-healthy, and took steps (as we got into a groove) to better our eating habits, better our life choices. (I will completely admit that the addition of our furry little munchkin Lucy also pushed us in that direction fairly rapidly).
I think back about our evolution — from hot pocket breakfast sandwiches to green smoothies, and I’m sort of amazed. Who we are today, how we live our lives, the choices we make — it all barely resembles the two kids who moved in together after a year of dating. And yet — we’re still the same two people who fell in love. The same two people who were convinced we’d met before — only to discover (after much discussion) that we had not.
Kind of goes back to the idea of God’s plan.
Anyway — maybe all of that is just the idea of growing up, stepping into the big boots and trodding the rough paths of life. And in the end, I am most grateful for one thing: I couldn’t have a better partner (and the fact that I have one at all is also something I am eternally grateful for). He has been my strength in the darkness, my laughter through the tears, my most precious best friend. And together we’ve cobbled together a very happy life. We are not immune to life’s hardships — no one is. And our battles come in all shapes and sizes and forms. But we soldier on together. And I think, as we both sit tapping away on laptops with Avatar playing in the background, that we have been traveling on an amazing adventure together, and I am deeply grateful for his companionship.