Love on the Weekend

Friday, July 26, 2019

It's Friday--an apt day to share a post I wrote but never published in October, 2017.
I'd moved down to the same town as Ryan just three weeks before. Still finding my footing;
making a space for my own in my new, empty apartment; learning my way at a new job.
Drinking in the warmth of love on the weekend
and the promise of that same love
 on a Monday.

It's a Friday morning, John's Mayer's "Love on the Weekend" plays in the car--the anthem of this past year, and my hands tap against the steering wheel. 

Everything's foggy and grey, growing lighter and more golden, much like each rare weekend morning of the past year when I had the day off and found myself on Highway 6 driving to see Ryan. Always a Sunday, sometimes if I was lucky, a Saturday. But never Friday...

That was our life, for over a year. Living to the weekend, trying to make it, working and waiting, day after day, until finally that single day of freedom for both of us - I've become an expert at picking in under 5 minutes. Things in a bag, pour food for the cat, grab the laptop, fling the bag in the car, turn the keys, pull out onto the street--and then, on my way to him. To love on the weekend. 

"It's so hard waking up in the morning and going to my job and finding worth in it. I feel like I'm living in the margins of life," I told my priest during Confession some months ago. 

He chuckled softly, and nodded with understanding. "Just remember that you work to live - not that you live to work. Just because a job is menial doesn't mean you can't have a full life. But this season might mean you have to work to live. And that's okay. Just don't make it your life."

It's not now. 

And the relief of that is both enormous and incredibly light, like the aftermath of a sudden outburst of tears. I can breathe--and stay breathing--for the first time in a long time. 

"You're happier more often," Ryan told me over dinner last night with a smile. "You realize it, right? You stay happier for longer now."

I do. 

Because he's not just a rarity now. For that, I am deeply grateful. He's not a weekend love anymore.

There are many things about our relationship I was not prepared for--but one of the hardest, I think, was the overwhelming guilt about work-life balance. Something, it turns out, that is not exclusive to motherhood. Making room for someone in your life can be difficult enough; it was for us, and we learned with many growing pains. But it's the carving time and space for a person out of the time and space set aside for other things that keeps you up at night.

A full-time job often from 7-5 for me, a PhD program in advanced mathematics and TA duties for him. Schedules that were always off--nights mean time to study for him, weekends are for grading. Nights were my only free time and Sunday was my weekend.

And now I'm here. Just down the road from him. It feels like a miracle and a gift (and make no mistake, it is -- one I will forever be grateful for) and unbelievable all at once. A little terrifying too. Everything is difficult in a different way now: whose place to have dinner at, how to fill the huge gaps of free time I have while he's in class or working, deciding whether to have breakfast and lose sleep or not see each other until dinner at 11pm, whether we see each other today or is it too inefficient to drive here and then drive there with two cars?

Turns out it's just as hard to transition out of a long distance relationship as it is to go into one. 

But I wouldn't go back. 

It's been a year and a half of endless driving, of feeling like I couldn't breathe every time I had to go back, of hating saying goodbye, of parking permits and probably thousands of dollars spent on gas. A year and a half of living in the margins, of always been on the other side of a screen -- of love on the weekend. 

It's Friday morning. And already, I've kissed him and wished him good luck as I dropped him off. 

The start of a weekend. The start of a new chapter. 

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