I remember our first flight together. We were barely married and I was tagging along for a work trip to Vegas. We knew so little about one another then and definitely didn’t know what to expect as we traveled across multiple states together for the first time. As soon as we sunk into our seats, Matthew pulled out a book and earbuds, and I was struck with disappointment. I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t bring anything to do on the flight. Somehow, I had concocted this romantic notion that we’d spend the entire flight talking about our new life together, or dreams, or what we’d do on our trip. This wouldn’t be the first time that I romanticized a scenario that didn’t play out quite as I envisioned. (By the way, this post has nothing to do with a fight really. I just liked the alliteration.)
Now, four years later, we’ve traveled many places together. We’ve gone by plane, train, and automobile. We’ve taken long trips. Short trips. Exciting adventures and basic routes. Now, four years later, I know what to expect when we travel together. I turned the planning and route management reigns over to him. That’s marriage, you know. Giving and taking. Relinquishing control along the way. Sharing roles. Sometimes this happens naturally as you settle into new roles together. Sometimes it doesn’t happen without a fight or an immense amount of effort. Nonetheless, I know more of what to expect these days, both in travel and in life.
Today, as I sit next to my husband on a noisy flight, I go back and forth between reading, writing, and listening to music. I have several options for entertainment. I watch as his head bobs, up and down and side to side, as he doses with his headphones firmly intact. Even when he wakes, I know we won’t say more than 5 words until the plane lands. Watching his head bob is both the most adorable thing and also the most comforting. I know what to expect today. Much more so than I did on that first flight. I don’t take his earphones or reading as a sign of disregard of me. Instead, it’s just how he flies. And that’s that. I’ll delve into another chapter or another song and I’ll let my mind wander here and there.
So many of these little lessons and moments of enlightenment have come throughout the last four years, not just regarding flights and travels. I wonder, how many more shall present themselves over a lifetime. I can hardly imagine. I realize both what an accomplishment it is to be where we are today, and I simultaneously learn how more of those routines are developed. You learn so much. You learn the others person’s strengths and weaknesses. Their quirks. The things that make your mind wander with excitement, as well as the things that make you feel like you could snap their necks with your bare hands. What a concept! To share a life together and to survive doing so.
Right now, at four years, I feel like both newlyweds and veterans. We are much better at this than we were in the beginning, and that deserves some credit. Like physical awards and such. And yet, there’s still so much to learn. So many more years to learn and grow and experience things together. I’m reminded of times of seeing couples who had been married for years upon years, and to see the ease of their routines at play is amazing. It’s something to be honored and revered. And hopefully someday we’ll be a well-oiled machine like those couples. For now, we’ll truck along being our 2012 Honda selves – a few rattles and yet still miles and miles left on those tires.