That's how old my son is.
|His daycare "school" photo. Stud!|
We celebrated his birthday jointly with his cousin Tristan, and it was a fun family affair. Neither he nor his cousin enjoyed the singing part (they freaked out, actually) but the cake and presents were well liked.
That's how long Cliff has been in jail. (7 months approaches on June 19th.)
I don't have a picture for that. Well...there are pictures of his prison unit online. But I'll spare you pictures of guard towers and tall fences of barbed wires and correctional officers with guns. Something that, surprisingly enough, I have grown used to.
That's how long Cliff and I have been married as of this Saturday, June 9th. I'll be able to visit Cliff on Saturday, able to spend time with him on the day we were married. 4 hours of driving for a two hour visit. Happy Anniversary.
I don't know how to adequately describe the weight of this sentence to people who have no loved ones in jail. Sometimes you don't notice the absence, the looming TIME ahead, because you're busy with all the stuff that normal life throws at you. Sometimes a Saturday is just the day when you catch up on laundry and go grocery shopping or play in the water in the backyard.
But sometimes, the weight of the separation slams down on you so hard that breathing is difficult. Especially when Saturdays aren't just a day, but are instead a "Special Day" - a birthday, an important holiday, a wedding anniversary. The "Special Days" are the worst because it is THEN that the absence of normalcy becomes obvious. "Special Days" are a reminder of the remainder of the days that are laid out in front of you.....(at least) 19 years, 6 months.....
This last week, many of my friends on Facebook have been posting about their upcoming wedding anniversaries, sharing pictures of their special day, praising their spouses in the public forum. And I'm not naive - every married couple has their own private pains, their own secret struggles, their own hidden hurts that they are NOT going to air out on any online profile. (or...they shouldn't). But it hurts that I don't get to do that anymore. I am jealous of their picturesque celebration, of the normal commemorations of life together.
Well....strike that, it hurts that I choose not to do that anymore. Because I can't extol the virtues of my spouse right now (even though he still has some) - his vices are too painfully in the forefront of my mind. I can't rapturously remember our wedding day without those memories being colored by feelings of anger and regret - How could you be so stupid!. Because I don't have the option to present our marriage or our relationship with rosy terms because we all know that's not the truth. Our private pains, our secret struggles, our hidden hurts are not private, secret or hidden. And to pretend otherwise is ridiculous.
I've learned to stop trying to keep track of time. Thinking too far ahead in the future is a recipe for despair and fury. I try not to commemorate milestones of separation and I try to find ways to have happiness on "Special Days" though that takes more deliberation than it would have in the past.
But sometimes I can't help but notice the ebb of time and what it means for me and Cliff and Gareth and all the other members of our family.