The fabric of time
When two people get married, communication is almost easy. You’re still learning each others’ stories; the previous stitches in the fabric that creates your life. Each one can be inspected, discussed, perhaps glossed over, maybe regretted, but they’re all on display.
Over the years, kids are added to the mix. The fabric gains brighter colors, intricate patterns, but now you’re weaving together. Stitches are put in by both hearts, woven into the memories of each.
But the drawback to this? All of the stitches are now familiar to both of you. Years and years of fabric, all woven by both of you. No new colors or patterns, no interesting twists.
Then the kids take their fabric off the family loom and start to continue the weave on their own. What’s left is as familiar as an old hoodie – it’s soft, it’s comforting, but it’s still old.
At this point, the Bear and I are faced with each of us holding an empty needle, struggling to find threads that haven’t already been used. We both have threads we could reach for, but it’s of little interest to the other person. Neither of us is sure what to do, how to continue the conversation.
A few weeks ago, we traveled for the Ambassador’s judo tournament. Nearly 7 hours in a car over two days, and we spend maybe half an hour in conversation. Both of us have high stress jobs; leisure discussion about either of them does not appeal. We have separate hobbies, separate interests, mostly separate lives. We’re grasping at conversational straws that can’t stave off the drowning silence between us. Other than the kids, we don’t know what to say.
This has been a concern of mine for a long time, now. We can’t find anything to say to each other over a 7 hour car trip; how the hell do we fill the next several years once the kids have all moved out? We have little in common, though we get along just fine (most of the time). We’re still great friends. But at this point, the prospects for our future look more like that of roommates weaving fabric next to each other than two people continuing to weave the same piece.
People will say, “Do more stuff together! Create your own stories!” but that isn’t always possible with chaotic schedules, widely-varied interests, and vastly different points of view. It’s a lot more complicated than it looks.
The fabric of a family will always be attached unless actively severed, and ours will always connect. But as his drifts further and further away from mine, it makes me wonder how tenuous those threads will be.