We took a family road trip recently and I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t want to go.
I didn’t want to be there.
In a place we formerly called home, although it never really was.
But the man in our life wanted us there. With him. Together. At least when our eyes opened for the day and closed for the night.
He had to return to the place we fled from not all the long ago. A place of traffic, noise, chaos. Where my body withers from the effects of stress and anxiety. But he hates leaving us behind in the name of work. Trading family for business. So he invited us along, and I reluctantly accepted the invitation.
It wasn’t a dream destination, nor could it be considered a vacation.
He spent the days at the office. And I spent them parenting away from home. There were no naps, no schedules. There was little sleep and lots of fighting. My frustration grew, my patience shriveled.
And yet, we were together.
My eyes dulled from weariness, but the eyes of my children never lost their sparkle. It was a week of making memories. Good ones. For them it wasn’t an obligation, but an adventure.
And while I wouldn’t describe it as fun, I have no regrets. I watched my kids drink in every second of a trip that left me parched. They laughed and squealed and lived expectantly, certain that the next moment would be better than the last.
I fell asleep next to a man whose body was worn, but whose heart was at peace with the breath of his family filling the small room around him.
I’m glad I chose togetherness, even if it was hard.
Because sometimes the hardest parts of being together are the parts that make our hearts grow closest.