What I’ve learned about myself, my husband and the strength of our marriage during the pandemic lockdown in Spain.
To My Husband – The other day while standing at the sink washing what seemed like the thousandth dish, I started thinking about our wedding vows.
On that November day 11 years ago we shivered both from excitement and from the chill in the air. With stars in our eyes and lumps in our throats, we pledged our lives to each other and promised to love through the happiest of times…and the hardest.
Couples commit, “through thick and thin” on their wedding day, but how many stop to think about what truly hard times might look like?
I’m guessing not many. I know we never did. We were too busy dreaming about the “happily ever after” promised in Hallmark movies.
Dreaming about a family. Dreaming about traveling the world together – and about all the things we would accomplish.
*There is a really good chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them I may receive a small commission (for which I am deeply grateful) at no additional cost to you.
Do you remember the day we found out that our dream of moving abroad was actually happening? It was like being stuck with a bolt of lightening – kind of like the day we were engaged. Or the day we found out we’d become parents.
So much excitement and anticipation, a world waiting for us.
And what an incredible journey it’s been – almost three years later. The places we’ve traveled, the friends we’ve met, the memories made, the lessons we’ve learned.
The smiles we’ve shared. Sometimes the tears we’ve cried.
Our marriage has been pushed and tested while living abroad in ways I never imagined. And time after time you’ve been the reassuring anchor for our family.
Most especially for me.
Then, eight weeks ago came the ultimate test. A test no one saw coming and is still hard to believe even today.
A test called COVID.
Our once exciting expat lives have come to a screeching halt. Travel suspended, Schools closed. Businesses shut down. Friends far apart.
And suddenly the world, instead of being our “oyster” has become a place of fear, uncertainty, and frustration.
We never expected this when dreaming of life overseas. Sometimes it almost feels as if we’ve been cheated out of our time abroad. And being confined to the walls of our little Barcelona apartment waiting for hours to pass definitely wasn’t in the plans.
Yet here we are day after day hoping for just a taste of our old life here. God, how I miss random weekend trips up the coast of Spain with the kids. Or holding hands walking down the city streets together, grabbing a cocktail before sitting down at a romantic outdoor table for dinner.
I love being “us”.
And I miss being “us”.
Right now, we’re just keeping our heads above water. We’re in the “thick” part of thick and thin. Now I get it.
As a wife and mother, I want you to see me at my best. Always. You deserve that, and so do our children.
But I’ll admit, there are days these past few weeks when I’ve definitely been at my worst. Those days when getting dressed just seemed like too much effort – so I rocked my pajamas ALL day long.
Or those evenings when hot dogs and chips qualified as a wholesome dinner, simply because my creative juices couldn’t muster up anything better.
Some nights, I plop down on the couch exhausted from the demands of the day and barely utter a, “How was your day, sweetie?” before passing out.
Remember the day I didn’t raise my voice at the kids? Yea, me neither.
Not my best moments, I know.
And, well, I guess my reason for saying this to you and the world is to let you know…it’s still me in there.
I’m still the same person, the same dreamer, and lover of adventure. Even if the stars in my eyes are a little harder to see these past few weeks.
I’m still the girl you married. The one who laughs a little too loud, uses dry sarcasm whenever possible and loves to sing at the top of my lungs.
I’m still the same googly-eyed 28 year old from years ago whose heart still skips a beat when you walk into the room.
This global pandemic and the lockdown we’ve been living in has opened my eyes in many ways. It’s helped me realize that as strong and independent as I am on some days, I wouldn’t be able to do this without you.
Even after putting in a 12-hour workday locked in our bedroom, you emerge ready to take on our busy family – and allow me to catch my breath. Your jokes, your smile and that contagious positivity you pour into our children is something I treasure.
You are the anchor.
When this whole mess becomes nothing more than a part of our family history and something we look back on and laugh about, I promise to remember the good times.
Because despite some of the tougher days, we’ve had plenty of amazing ones too!
Playing ultra-competitive games Monkey In the Middle with the kids down our apartment hallway. Family movie night in “a real theater”.
Weekend cocktails on our balcony, wishing we had a garden, but enjoying the Spanish sun nonetheless.
How about your favorite day ever?! The one where you had to buy tampons for me at the grocery store in full quarantine gear because I wasn’t yet ready to emerge from the apartment.
Grinding our teeth and forcing smiles while our three-year old belches the songs from Frozen II for the thousandth time.
Binge-watching garbage Netflix series like Tiger King and discussing it the next morning like a global headline.
Tons of funny memories that will surely overshadow the not-so-funny ones in the years to come.
This trying time of “thick and thin” will eventually pass. You are my best friend and the ONLY person I can imagine going through this with.
We’ll get through it like we always have and feel like “us” once again.
Until then, remember…it’s still me in there.