On February 6th of last year, Jake and I woke up on a futon in our apartment. While it was still dark outside, we made our way to our town's little one-gate airport. I kissed him and waved goodbye as he flew to Colorado to start his new job, and I would follow a week later.
That may have been the most lonely week of my life. It was a very busy work season, and I felt guilty for making things more complicated by leaving my job in the middle of it. I glued a smile on my face and tried to act like moving wasn't a big deal, but at every meeting, every walk around campus, I was wide eyed and hyper-aware that this was a week of lasts. And it was sad.
The hardest thing about that week was living in an empty apartment. All our furniture and our car had been packed up and sent ahead of us. So there were no dishes, no groceries, no lamps, no extra blankets. It was February. It was cold and dark and depressing in there. I missed my husband, but I also missed our cozy, sweet Lynchburg life. I was still physically there, but the chapter had closed.
I still miss our Lynchburg life, if I'm being honest. It was such a special time for me to live around my best friends, most of us newlyweds, and within walking distance to each other's apartments. I knew it couldn't last forever, but I still cherish it. It was the sweetest season.
Our year in Colorado has also been sweet, in it's own unique ways, and of course the year has also had its challenges.
We both had to learn to adjust to Jake's long work hours, and there were definitely times this last year I bitterly and tearfully questioned if moving was a mistake. I hated that he had to work so much, I hated when he got sick because he had not been sleeping, I hated that we'd go days on end when he would come home after I'd gone to bed, and leave before I woke up.
I found it hard to make friends without him as my sidekick, because how could I really let someone get to know me, if they don't know him? I didn't know how to grocery shop because I never knew when he'd be home. I didn't know how to encourage him when he'd get off a work-project-bender, and I'd be frustrated if he didn't see how hard I was trying to be supportive.
But as cliche as it is, these challenges have brought us closer. So I wouldn't trade them.
Our marriage seems so much stronger this year than it was a year ago. We've really learned how to communicate, acknowledge, encourage and support each other, whether we get a lot of time together or a little. We're way more intentional and perceptive of how the other person is doing, what they need, how to help. I'm getting better at spending less money, keeping the apartment clean (more for my sake than his - I get super cranky when our space is messy). We both think the other one is the cutest, coolest thing, and tell each other that all the time. He's my favorite person to hang out with, talk to, dream alongside. And we do all those things consistently. It's awesome.
The dust is settling. Today, February 8, is Jake's official one year anniversary of working at his company, but it feels like he's been there a lot longer. Our future feels just as unclear as ever, with loads of questions that can't be answered right now, but I'm learning to live with the unknown and be grateful for what we have.... each other.