In the face of something difficult we need to remind ourselves more than ever of what we’re thankful for. On a daily basis I play that mental game of trying to put things in perspective, realizing all the ways I’ve had it easy and luck has gone my way. Trying more than ever to stay present and find joy in the small things.
My husband is a strategy consultant. He works for a firm that gets hired by large Fortune 500 companies all over the world to come fix problems. Almost every Monday he gets on an airplane and flies to whatever company he is working for. And then returns late on Thursday night.
It’s a tough lifestyle, for both us. As newlyweds, we’ve spent 4 days apart a week for two years. I hated having him gone, and during the bumps we encountered this past year it made it even harder.
He’s finally ready to leave. All the travel he had to do post-miscarriages, when we needed each other the most, starting to create a bit of resentment towards his line of work. And so we decided to do a Los Angeles stay-cation, where he can take a break, avoid airports, and start contemplating his next career move. A stay-cation where we sleep in our own bed, take long walks around our sunny neighborhood, slowly sip our morning coffee and tea, and explore the parks, hikes, and beaches we’ve never been to.
And with this, I decided to do a gratitude post. Time to slow down, take our time, grasp each other tightly and bathe in simple pleasures.
We started the week with a day walking around the ocean front in Santa Monica with our dog, sipping Boba, our favorite treat. The weather so perfect you hardly notice it, with a crisp sunshine and breeze. We sat in the grass, played with our dog, and talked about how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place.
We hiked our favorite hike, in the mountains near our home. As we settled into the field at the edge of the hike to have a picnic, we were suddenly joined by a van full of inmates, from some nearby prison. I got excited and tried to pretend I was in Orange is the New Black.
We did a day trip to Laguna Beach. We started the day with a hike at Crystal Cove, followed by a long lunch and a few glasses of wine (my consolation prize after my BFN a few days prior). We walked along the beaches and drove through the neighborhoods, wondering as we always do when we explore neighborhoods what it would be like to live here and whether we would be happy.
We started creating rituals for ourselves, rituals that could never happen in our normal life because of my husband’s long hours. We would hike in the morning and then pick up Boba, from Urth Cafe. On the days we didn’t hike, we had long, leisurely breakfasts, with organic eggs, fruit, greek yogurt and tea. In the evening, we had happy hour outside, with an elaborate cheese plate, and a fun cocktail (with or without alcohol depending on the cycle day) .
We spent days at the beach, and then caught up with friends over dinner. The stress of our fertility struggle sometimes causes us to isolate and miss seeing friends. It felt good to connect, to laugh, and be in the moment.
In the midst of this vacation, my husband was approached by Disney for an opportunity in their global business development group. My husband spent a day with them at the office, interviewing and trying to decide if this was the right opportunity for him. This was followed by further courtship attempts and a night out at Disneyland, where the two SVPs and their wives took us to dinner to convince my husband to join the group. After dinner we got to cut the lines at a few of my favorite rides – Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, and Soaring Over California. Going on fast rides leaves a perma-smile on my face, and despite the wobbly legs it felt so good to just freak out and laugh on these rides. Walking around Disneyland was bittersweet, with all the children running around us. I thought about our future children, and how much fun they’ll have to have a dad who works for Disney. It made me happy and excited, but also made my heart ache and long for them.
My husband’s official offer from Disney came on the same day as our negative test. I tried to soothe myself by acknowledging that the offer symbolizes change and that everything will be okay. My husband had a brutal last six months at his job, and it felt like we’d never get to the other side of it. But then his dream job showed up, unexpectedly. It could change so much for us. He won’t be traveling as much. His work-life balance will much better. And he’s building a career that will create endless fun for our children. The children that I have to keep telling myself will come.
Change does happen. And I have so much to be grateful for.