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I’m Okay…You’ll Be Okay Too…

Wow. Thank you for the amazing responses and support of my first post. It was simultaneously exhilarating – and daunting – as my thoughts instantly jumped to the challenge of meeting expectations for this week. I was kindly reminded by my sister-in-law and best friend, Kristi, to continue being vulnerable and never lose sight of why I started this journey. Speak your mind. You do you, girl. That’s what she said – so okay, here it goes – this week’s post is inspired by the love and support I’ve been enveloped in over the last week.

People always say to me, I don’t know how you do it with Erik gone. The truth is, most days I don’t know either. Erik and I have been together for 14 years. That’s 14 years of texts, FaceTime, and voicemails because we really only spend an average of 3-4 months together per year. To be clear, “together” in this context means within state lines. Relatively speaking, it isn’t that bad – for three months of the year I enjoy our time together, and the rest of the year I spend with my friends. Relatively speaking, I’m lucky – Erik is healthy and safe, and we have the opportunity to talk daily (that is if time zones and opposing schedules allow). Relatively speaking, I consider our situation unique but endurable…but I didn’t always think so.

I was 15 when Erik and I started dating – at the time, my biggest worries were passing my driving test and turning my Spanish assignments in on time. I was emotionally immature – I struggled to support Erik’s dreams of being a professional baseball player because I selfishly wanted to be a normal teenage girl. Was it too much to ask to want to see a movie with your boyfriend or go on a double date to Applebees? The 15 year-old me answered no, but the 29 year-old me says yes. Yes, I was selfish and irrational. I was so blinded by my desire to be normal that I failed to appreciate what was, and still is, so abnormally amazing in my life…

When given the option, I’ll choose my abnormal life any day – because instead of one date to Junior prom, I had 10 of my friends as dates to the dance. Because instead of a few double dates at Applebees, I’m the third wheel to countless dinners, happy hours, and movies – but have never felt out of place. Because when I’m invited to an event, no one asks questions when I bring a friend as a date so I’m not alone. Because most of the time, my friends volunteer to be my “plus one.” Because at weddings, my friends reserve a dance for me or share their husbands so I don’t feel left out during slow songs (I mean, how many times can you just sit and listen to Lonestar’s Amazed?). Because I have a list of friends who rescue me when something breaks or needs heavy lifting. Because when I show pictures and tell stories about my dog, Reggie, while my friends talk about their beautiful babies, no one thinks I’m weird. Because there is always someone to hold my hand during a procedure or sit in the waiting room during a surgery. Because I always have texts and phone calls waiting for me after ultrasounds, blood tests, and fertility nurse appointments. Because I have volunteers willing to give me daily hormone injections when/if the time comes. Because I’m never judged when I breakdown and cry after attending yet another baby shower that isn’t mine…I could go on forever, but let’s face it, you’ll all be bored and I think I’ve made my point clear…whatever you’re going through, whether it seems trivial or insurmountable, you can try to tackle it alone or you can surround yourself with extraordinary people who raise you above the situation.

I wish I could go back and tell the 15 year-old me to shape up and get over myself. And let’s be honest, I sometimes need to tell the 29 year-old me to shape up too. But the difference now – is my perspective. I have a loving husband who adores me and would do anything to show his support of me, whether he’s states or oceans away. But I also have an army of friends who will go to battle for me whenever needed. I’m both humbled and inspired by the extraordinary people that surround me. I told you my blog would explain why I love life and more specifically, my life. The answer is simple – it’s you, my friends. When I’m worrying about sustaining a long distance relationship, being a good wife, having a successful career, and whether I’ll ever have the opportunity to be a mom, my friends continue to shine light on the reality of my situation and keep things in perspective. And they remind the 15 year-old me that relatively speaking, I’m okay – and you’ll be okay too – as long as you have the right people by your side and in your life.

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Relatively Speaking – First Blog Post!

I’ll preface this post by saying I’m not an extraordinary person, nor do I claim to lead an exceptionally exciting life. BUT – I love life, and I love my life, for better and for worse. I’m a small-town girl who grew up on a farm, married my high school sweetheart, Erik, and went to college and graduate school. I work as a physical therapist at a local hospital. I’m a devoted dog mom to my Bernese Mountain Dog, Reggie, and my friends are the same friends I rode bikes with in the third grade and went to prom with when I was 16. I enjoy wine nights and Netflix binges with my sister-in-law, Kristi, every Sunday night, and I read… a lot. See – I warned you I was ordinary.

You’re thinking, why would anyone read this? She’s just like me and every other person I know. You’re right – I am like you, relatively speaking. The experiences we have in life, joys and struggles, are relative – relative to your previous experiences and to those of others. As humans, it is our nature to compare ourselves to others, which is both motivating and maddening. Because, throughout my ordinary life, I have done things in the socially acceptable order at the same time as my friends. I went to college. I got married (after dating my husband for 10 years). I got a job. We bought a house. We got a dog. Again, relatively ordinary.

Except – my husband is a professional baseball player and for the last 14 years, we spend eight months per year in separate states and on occasion, in separate countries. Except – I work a full-time job and take care of an entire house for those eight months every year. Except – for three years, our loving, gentle giant of a dog suffered through several autoimmune disorders before we found a vet who saved him and didn’t think we were crazy pet owners. Except – we are struggling with the next natural step in life – starting our own family. While all of my friends are adding swaddled bundles of joy to their families, I am helplessly waiting for it to be our turn. Except – I am still searching for options and answers, undergoing tests, procedures, surgery, ultrasounds, more tests, more doctor bills.

My struggles may be far fewer than some and they may be far greater than others. Whatever the case, I know I am blessed, and relatively speaking, I have led a fulfilling life the past 29 (and one-half) years. The purpose of this blog is to bring light to my everyday struggles with long distance relationships, the internal conflict of spending more time with my husband versus being a career woman, and infertility. This is my cathartic journal – I’m exposing my vulnerabilities so that I might strike a chord with someone out there – or at least provide some reprieve to a reader after a long day.

I told you my life wasn’t exceptionally exciting, and this blog won’t be groundbreaking. I’ll share why and how I love life in general and more specifically, my life, for better and for worse. Because the more I share my struggles and experiences with friends and family, the more I learn how prevalent and relevant they are. And I think that’s what’s most validating about it – I’m just like you and you’re just like me, relatively speaking.