When my husband and I met we quickly learned that we had a great deal of similarities, from childhood to adulthood the list of “me too’s” were long. Our dreams and goals for our family were similar as were our hopes for our future together. But there were also differences. Differences that required our lives to be more separate than together. This has never bothered us because we both enjoy our individual freedoms and love that we can accept this about each other. Very rarely do our interests converge, but he has been present at weddings I’ve officiated, helped me to set up for art shows, and sometimes reads letters, stories, and essays that I know he’d rather use as a bookmark in his favorite magazine. Still, we support one another in all of our individual interests as we promised to do in the beginning.
My husband leaves our home in the fall to travel to Illinois and there he enters a world where he is in his element. The outdoors is where he feels peace and happiness, so the Illinois outdoors is his “happy place”. I’ve never asked to go with him, it never interested me. The thought of being surrounded by wide open spaces miles from “civilization” was not my idea of fun. I longed for beach vacations or weekend camping trips. Still, he mentioned it over and over again about how much he wanted to show me his world.
After several years, the pieces fit together and I was able to take a week off of work to accompany him to Illinois. We drove, starting in the middle of the night, so that by the time daybreak came we would at least be in Indiana where the scenery would be different than anything I had seen in Pennsylvania.
We reached the lodge in Illinois around lunchtime and I immediately began to understand my husband’s love affair with his home in the fall. I felt welcomed, loved, and at home from the moment I walked in the door. And to see the welcome given to my husband was to see him through someone else’s eyes. It was incredible.
During the day my husband took me to various spots in the area he works. His knowledge of this part of the forest and that hidden road or taking me to an overgrown cemetery from the 1800’s because he knows that these things interest me. He showed me coyote, raccoon, and deer tracks. His knowledge of things that I would have never seen or knew of astounded me. Who are you? How do you know these things? My awe turned to laughter then back to awe again when his nickname “007” was used several times, in awe because this moniker was given to him due to his ability and knowledge of tracking animals. I had no idea!
On our way home from one of the most incredible weeks we’ve ever spent together, I watched my husband with new eyes. Being able to see him through awakened eyes enabled me to appreciate and value him so much more. I got so caught up in our differences the past few years I forgot to take the time to appreciate those differences as his value and contribution as a human being to this planet. He’s an amazing human being.
Now that we’re home and back to our daily lives, he is getting prepared to go back to his summer job and I am embarking on a new path of employment. But now that I’ve come to know my husband in his world, I know that when he needs to disappear into the woods is not him getting away from me but his time to reconnect. And when I mention to my friends that the reason the whitetail deer are out in the fields in the evening it’s because there is a storm brewing, I know that I learned that from him. And one of these days, I’m going to refer to him as 007 when he’s not expecting it just to watch him smile.
Until next time,