I got married on a Thursday. On Sunday, my four-days-a-married-women self flew across the country with my four-days-a-married-man husband and settled into a one room basement apartment filled with borrowed furniture. When we walked in for the first time, in my head I kept repeating, "It's just for the summer. It's just for the summer. It's just for the summer. . ." so I could hold it together.
We ate off paper plates while my brand new dishes sat in boxes back in Utah. When I pictured cooking my first meal as a married woman, I hadn't really envisioned it consisting of freezer burritos, a bag salad, and orange slices. I lost my job before my first day just weeks before we flew out, so I spent all of my time writing thank you notes for wedding gifts I'd never seen, looking for jobs, listening to NPR and visiting a museum here and there.
Some of those first few days there are among the loneliest ones of my life.
I saw my husband less than I ever had before. I didn't have family close. I had no friends. For the first several weeks I was isolated and alone most of the day. I thought it would be so different from what it was. I was newly married. I expected the whole summer to be bursting with newly wed bliss and a sense of companionship that I had never before understood. And yes, there was some of that (on the weekends). But there were also very hard, very lonely days spent wondering why this thing that felt 100% right was so 100% hard right now. People had told me to wait to get married until Mikey had gotten back from his internship. "And miss out on the adventure?!" I'd say, "No way!"
I'm not writing this for a pity party.
Truth is, nothing could have been better for my marriage. As soon as we got back home we were pulled in a thousand different directions by family, friends, events, deadlines, school work, callings, co-workers, younameits. Were it not for a summer of having my husband as my only person (even if I didn't have him to myself as much as I wanted), I don't think my marriage would be as strong as it is right now. I also don't think we would have been prepared to do what we're doing right now.
I have expected to feel the same pangs of loneliness here. So far, the flickers of isolation have been fleeting and few. It has been a welcome reassurance. I think that nothing could have brought me closer to my baby, closer to my husband and closer to my Heavenly Father like this past month-and-a-half have. I don't feel cloistered. I feel so free.
Free to dance in the kitchen while we're making pancakes together. Free to play "pillow-bomber" with Ada before bed. Free to write. Free to paint. Free to make my life what I want to make it. That's the best part. I'm someplace so new that it feels like a fresh canvas. I can't say what I want to say when I meet someone at the grocery store. I can't remember street names or how to get the address I just looked up. So I gesture and wander, and in doing so, realize this wide-eyed newness is what makes me grateful to be here every single day.