Redefining “Together”

My family has been unintentionally fractured over the past year and it has caused us to redefine what “together” really means for us.

It actually started about 18 months ago when my husband decided it was time to start looking for a new job. He was ready to step out of his leadership role at a small, local company and move to a global company that would give him the opportunity to expand his horizons. I fully supported his decisions even though I knew that might mean a relocation.

We have lived away from both of our extended families for almost two decades. As a young, carefree married couple, it was no bother. Family can sometimes be a drag, weighing you down with obligations. But as we got older and decided to grow our family from the two of us to the three of us, our feelings about family started to change.

In the five years since my son was born, we’ve missed having grandparents here at the holidays. We’ve missed out on family birthday dinners. We’ve missed having our son get to know his cousins and aunts and uncles. So relocation, especially if it meant moving closer to family, was definitely something worth considering.

We started out with a plan to move to Connecticut, close to my brother-in-law. I got excited about finally living the fantasy New England lifestyle I’ve always dreamed about!

But that fell through.

Another opportunity arose with the same company in…

TEXAS!

That got a resounding NO from me. Not only do we not have any family in Texas, it’s too darn hot. Period.

And finally, an opportunity came up for the Washington, DC area – where I grew up. My side of the family is scattered throughout Maryland and Virginia so we’d be close to my family!! But, oh… we’d be close to my family. (If you have one of those families, you’ll know exactly what I mean here.)

Yes, plenty of waves of emotion. But in the end, my husband accepted the job, the house went on the market, and we prepared to move from North Carolina to Maryland.

Except we didn’t.

The economy and real estate market had other plans and I stayed home week after week hoping to sell the house while my husband literally commuted to the Baltimore area. It was fine at first. I had evenings to blog and drink wine, guilt-free. He got to sleep in my sister’s attic. We knew it would all work out eventually.

Around the holidays, we took a break from listing our house. No one should ever have to keep their house that clean and we needed a break. We needed a break from the stress of trying to sell a house and the stress of being apart. We figured we’d try to sell again in the Spring, all the while, my husband still commuted back and forth.

It started to take its toll on my son. It made me sad when my husband was home and would simply run out to the store. My son would just assume he had gone on another business trip. He got used to the unpredictability of his schedule and he got used to his absence.

Spring finally emerged. We made some changes, finally relisted our house, and it sold within a week.

We’re finally coming to the end of our separation and we’re so close we can taste it. Even though our world is chaotic as we are going through the transition, we know the chaos will soon end.

Today, in the midst of all the packing and boxes, my mother asks me if I’m full of mixed emotions. No, I tell her. Those emotions have long since passed. What I am focused on now is one word: together.

When my son started preschool in the fall, they asked him to bring in a family photo. We had to go back several months to find one picture of all of us together because it has been so rare that we were.

When my birthday rolled around, my husband was out of town so I took my son with a friend and her son out for my birthday dinner.

When my son’s birthday came around, my husband was out of town again. So we filmed him opening his presents so dad could feel like he was there.

We sold the house and we’re packing to move so we can all be together. That’s the emotion I’m focused on.

My husband is still commuting so much of the packing burden has fallen on me. But I’m okay with it because there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. At the end of the week, we’ll all be under the same roof, most likely in the same bed, enjoying just one thing: being together.

This post is my entry into a contest to win a full sponsorship to Type-A Parent Conference from Brica. Brica asked entrants to write a post on their motto, “Making Together Better”. The topic couldn’t be more timely or personal! Connect with Brica through their website, Facebook page, and Twitter account!

  • a.eye

    So happy the move is such a positive thing in bringing your family together in so many ways!  Hopefully, you adjust to the togetherness well.

  • April Dorris

    I’m so happy you all will be together again. I feel your pain. My fiance and I are apart and will still be apart for almost a year after we are married.

  • Kelli @ Momma Needs a Beer

    Good for you for making it through those long months. I have a hard enough time when the hubs has to work out of state once/week every other month. Can’t even imagine being a single-mother full-time, even when you know it had to end sooner or later. Good luck with the big move!! Hope to see you in person at Type A!

  • http://twitter.com/_ScooterMarie Jocelyn

    Fadra, that’s awesome! I had no idea you guys have been apart so much of the time for so long. You must be ecstatic to finally be able to be together again. I hope the move goes well!

  • http://twitter.com/MariaMorley All Things Luxurious

    Thinking of you and your family, Fadra, and wishing you the most stress-free move possible!  Focus on that light at the end of the tunnel!  :-)  You and your fam are in my prayers!

  • http://lostandforgotten.wordpress.com/ Marta

    Fadra, I’m so happy that you’re finally going to be able to be together! Even if it means lots of time spent packing. Also, that post was too good! I’m trying to win this contest too! 

  • http://twitter.com/sellabitmum Tracy Morrison

    Oh I am so glad you will all be together again. xoxo

  • http://twitter.com/FawnRech Fawn Rechkemmer

    I love this post and can really identify – my husband’s job has him  living away from us for 4 nights a week every week for nearly the past year.  We are trying to sell our house so we can get us all back in one place.

    Congrats to you and selling your house and finally getting to be together! Good luck in the contest too. I’m looking forward to Type A and hope to meet you there!

  • http://windylou.com/ Windy

    That sounds like all the worst parts of a long distance relationship! 

  • http://twitter.com/MandiMcClure Mandi McClure

    Glad you guys will be “together” again soon.  Hope all goes well with the move.

  • http://www.mommywords.com Brittany at Mommy Words

    Fadra I am so glad you are together again and I hope the move went well!  I am also super glad that I will see you more now that we are not in the same state anymore but you are where my MOM is!  And so I go there more than Raleigh.  Together is so much more important than we think.  We often go back and forth on Ross taking a job elsewhere and commuting.  I just know it would be a real burden, even more than his regular travels.  Focus on together baby!  And p.s. Ross traveled on purpose when we last moved.  I am sure of it. And I was 6 months pregnant.  I think he still owes me.

  • http://twitter.com/rajean rajean

    I hope your together reunion has been wonderful. It really is the little things that matter most. My goal is to get as much of my hometown friends and family to move west to our new hometown. Baby steps, but my cousin and his family joined us a year ago and haven’t looked back. It means so much to have at least ‘some’ family near by for those better together moments. Happy new home, Fadra! 

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