This afternoon, my husband installed a birdfeeder in our backyard. Tomorrow he will get on a plane to travel for work, the first time in four months. I am somewhat nervous even though I am sure the airline and hotel will be taking precautions and my husband is smart enough to understand why wearing a mask is important.
Prior to COVID-19, he traveled a lot for his job. And though he laughs when he says that the last time he was home for this long was 1989, I smile but I know it isn’t a joke. Not as a witness – we met almost four years ago, and have been married for less than two – but because he and he sons can attest.
I’ve gotten spoiled now, have gotten used to us spending so much time together. I can almost imagine what retirement will be like. And even though he doesn’t yet have any other work trips lined up after this one, I feel fairly certain that I won’t get the luxury of his company for four months again before his next trip is booked. Trade shows have been cancelled but client work will need to be taken care of, and whatever is being deferred now, will ultimately need to take place. This extended and magical time together isn’t likely to be recreated until the far-off world of retirement.
I am fortunate enough to have been able to work remotely even before COVID-19 hit and so, when I think about how – once the world is safe again in the difficult-to-imagine future – I would love to travel with him, part of me wonders why I’ve gone back to school. It would be so nice to work from anywhere and take our evenings to explore new places.
I don’t expect to finish up these dual master’s degrees for another year and a half. Right now, it seems so very, very far away. But then again, so does every earlier stage of my life. Working in trade magazine publishing in New York. Previous marriages. Living in Israel. Positions in book publishing, marketing and, of all things, searching for unrelated bone marrow donors. When my children were young. All of it seems like a lifetime ago.
I try to look ahead and what I see is a turbulent world with a lot that needs to be repaired and a peaceful home where I am encouraged to learn and grow and follow my heart. I study, write papers, apply for scholarships and conferences and all kinds of things and enjoy each accomplishment but as I look at the world falling apart around us, am still trying to piece how I can take the knowledge I’ve accrued over my lifetime and put it to good use. I know it will come.
In the meantime, when the weather is nice and my husband is home, we start our days with coffee on the screened in porch, overlooking the lake. Since I moved to Georgia 17 years – what seems a lifetime – ago, I’ve repeatedly enjoyed seeing the bright red of cardinals when they visit, but today was the first time I’d ever seen a blue bird. Actually, two of them. One might’ve been a blue jay, we think. Turns out that blue birds have been connected to happiness for thousands of years.
Starting the day with my husband and with blue birds, sparrows, cardinals, crows, hawks and even the sound of a woodpecker certainly brought me happiness, as did seeing birds flock to the new birdfeeder later this afternoon.
Meanwhile, back to the world at large.
Tomorrow my husband flies off, and I will keep the birdfeeder replenished until he returns.