Sunday, August 15, 2010

How We Make It

This post is dedicated to all the people who wonder how we separated spouses do it, and to all those who know exactly how we do it because they live it every day. I get asked all the time how it's possible to survive this long in a separate country from my husband, while raising our child. Honestly, it's a very absurd concept to ponder: maintaining a life separated by more than a thousand miles from the person you love and swore to stand by for the rest of your life.

But in practice, it's actually not so extraordinary. See, when you have no other choice, you do what you must. Obviously the simplest solution would be to eat a lot of ice cream, crawl under the covers, curl up in a ball, and try to never come out. And I'm not gonna lie: I've tried it. But then Lucas came along and that was no longer an option because as much as I'd like to stay in a sugar-induced state of self-pity in bed every morning, I have a child who not only needs me but literally grabs my face and picks me up off the pillow if I hesitate for even a few seconds too long.

So, I bring you...

Coping Strategy #1:
You just can't shirk your daily responsibilities

Someone's got to do laundry, go grocery shopping, and clean up, and there's a good chance it's you. So you get out of bed, you go about your day, you purchase the necessities, you try to figure out which of the 300 varieties of toothpaste is the best choice, you prepare meals, change diapers, and before you know it, a whole day has gone by and the Earth is still spinning!


Coping Strategy #2:
(Likely to be both easier and more necessary than #1):
You pretty much have to go to work

There are some people on this planet who have figured out how to get out of this one. I think Kramer from Seinfeld was one of them. For the rest of us, it's a key part of having the money necessary for everything else, including Coping Strategy #1. And for those stuck living with separation, the routine banality of tasks on the job is really a blessing in disguise. Here is one venue where we actually have some control. Sure, we get assaulted by the usual aggravations, but the general rule is that if we show up and do what we're asked to, we'll walk out with a paycheck every so often. Unlike in the immigration world, where we show up extra early and do above and beyond what we're asked to, and then after months or years of this, we either get a swift kick in the face or dunked in a tub of ice water or both -- METAPHORICALLY! (for the most part).  So the thing is, the more you dig in to work, the more you feel like life has some order and you exercise a certain degree of control over at least your immediate future. It's empowering, it's encouraging, and it gives you fuel to live on, or a paycheck at the very least.

As you can see, those of us enduring international marriages survive through a lot of the same methods as anyone going through a rough time. Tune in next time for more, I've got a hefty list of them accumulating here. And feel free to let me know of any others that you think should be mentioned.

Here's Strategy #3: Staying Busy
And Strategy #4: Choosing Victory

1 comments:

PuertoVallartaGirl said...

Hey girl: you are a very strong woman. Don't forget coping strategy #3, or the overall one for all of us who are separated. The belief in the miracle - that our government who we have believed in our whole lives up until the separation - will enact a law that reunites families. And see that the belief in families is more important than some fear monger mentality which is separating us based on red tape. I believe in that miracle. I am just waiting. In fact I can imagine my husband doing the US Citizen oath.

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