Someone posted a comment here a few months ago saying something along the lines of how Noah and I must really like each other a lot in order to travel together the way we do. I suppose she's right. We must like each other. We must also work together really well. Seamlessly.
I look through the posts I've written over the last year and a half, I
notice that I have many about parenting, religion, family, so many
other things, but not a single one about relationships. That must mean
Noah and I always have a lot going on. Where to go? How to get there? How long to stay? Where to stay? What to eat? How much will it cost? What will Lila do? How is Lila doing? Where can we find other kids for her to play? Where will she go to school? How is she adapting to the change? What will we do during the days with her?
And somewhere in there, the Noah and Leigh part of the equation becomes fuzzy.
Add to that a continual change of culture. You see, things move at a very different pace in Argentina. From what I can tell, no one plans ahead. Oh, they may have an idea of what the plan could be, but no one would consider telling you it's a finalized plan until the very last minute, because, quite frankly, things change.
Add to that, all of us have adapted to the Argentinian schedule. Oh,
and it's a wonderful way of life, really. It seems the day, in many
ways, revolves around dinner, which doesn't even think of beginning
until 10pm. This means, even if we eat earlier than most, Lila still
doesn't go to bed until 11pm. Often not falling asleep until after
midnight. She then wakes up at noon, at which point there's a rush to
eat, dress, and head out for our day's activity.
Add to that, we are always together, rarely have time alone and generally spend most of our time in relatively small apartments and rooms with no real personal space at all.
We put ourselves on hold. We come last because so many other things need immediate attention.
Noah and I have been together a long time, almost twenty
years.That's a good decade of marriage longer than many of the people
we know our age. Over that time, I've learned a few things.
1. All couples fight. Our fights are much more mellow
these days then they were in the past. Partly because there is a little
girl around to hear them. Partially because we just don't have the
energy or patience for huge dramatic arguments.
2. That you will not always be 100% (or even 50%) sure of each other. A
friend of mine complained to me that she and her husband of 4 years
were getting along horribly. She didn't like his family. She didn't
like the way he interacted with their new son. She didn't feel he
understood what it was like to be home all day with a child with colic
(that I'm sure he didn't.) I began saying "Noah and I have been
together long enough..." when she interrupted me. "Yes, I'm sure you
guys don't have these petty fights anymore."
"Lord no," I told her. "I was going to say, we've been together long
enough to know that at some point every relationship will go through a
time when you seriously consider ending it."
Truthfully, it's when you work your way through those times that the
marriage becomes stronger. It's easy to think of the day he proposed
with a smile. Try doing the same when you think of the time she
threatened to end things. Or he walked out angry one morning and didn't
return or even call until well after dark. When you both thought "This
is it. I can't live with this shit anymore."
3. You will repeat the same fights over and over for years and years.
Some fights remain. A few drop off to be replaced by others, but
mainly, it's the same thing year after year. Some see the lack of
resolution as sign that the marriage isn't working. I've learned that
that is simply the nature of tying your life to and living with another
human being, especially when you spend a lot of time together. In the
words of an old friend of mine, someone who happens to be the rector of
an Episcopal church in New Jersey, "You marry the person who aggravates
I suppose over the time, we've mellowed. The fights aren't as
intense. We've learned to put off the issues and discussions until a
more appropriate time. We've learned how to simply overlook some of
those things, accept that your partner isn't going to change, accept
that some of those things you can't stand, that you thought would be a
relationship deal-breaker are simply part of your life now.
We are still learning to differentiate between those things that are important to bring back to the table for discussion and those that can be safely buried.
So with all this mess, how do you know if you should simply just end it? That, I can't answer because that is not my concern.
Right now, we are once again in between places. We leave this particular apartment in about a week. I'm not sure where we're going next. Possibly directly to Salta. Possibly to do some WWOOFING - work in exchange for room and board in a nearby community. I don't know yet.
On Friday, I'm going with a friend to a WWOOF site called Eco-Yoga Park just outside of Buenos Aires to see what's there and make sure they have room for us. If they do, we'll go for a week. If not, we will go to Salta. Whatever happens, we will have to make plans, and they will have to be made quickly.
Once all this has been figured out, once we arrive in Salta and have
a place of our own, once Lila is settled in a daily routine with other
children, then Noah and I will be able to talk. Sometimes it feels like
that moment, that time will never arrive. But it will. It always does.