When Albert Einstein happened on the theory of quantum physics he said, “God does not play dice with the universe”, dispelling the idea that particles could be in two places at one time. Since then physicists and Nobel-winning Drs. S. Haroche and D. Wineland have proven that individual electrons can, in fact, be in two places at once. The concept of duality isn’t a new one. The ancient Greeks created Nephele the Goddess of Duplicity who was a clone of Hera and was made from the clouds. Yet while we have far to go in the science of human duplicity if my heart is any indicator, physics standing or not, it is often in two places at one time.
In her study Voices of Women in Commuter Marriages: A Site of Discursive Struggle, Karla Bergen Professor of Communication at the College of Saint Mary, found that women in commuter marriages especially grapple with the “tensions between physical and emotional presence/absence and the role of communication in constructing presence.” In short, the concept of dual identity and emotional and physical adjustment when balancing between two households and geographic places.
This has been a struggle for me over the past few weekends. In Texas, the heat in July gets to me. The kids are off of school and there’s just more “life” to do and balance doing it well. I’ve been there a lot because when he travels for work it makes sense that I come to him or so I thought until my heart was breaking over the long weekend. I cried as I wrote:
The door to my heart heaves heavy, non-oiled and squeaking against transparency’s sake. I’m here with my husband (sigh, laugh, love) but away from the kids and the shadows of their passing youth foreboding in the omniscient Texas sky. If it wasn’t for the Baseball Moms sending me pictures and videos of the kids on this tournament weekend from Wisconsin I don’t know what I’d do. Yet, who sends them to me when my husband is away? Face Time comes into play or stored images conjured by my memory. Whoever lives in the present has mastered a gift; one that I can neither validate nor afford.
Now four days have gone by and with the slight passage of time and processing I can look on what our family continues to learn and put it in some perspective. Holidays are hard for me to be away from family. They’ve always been. I recently read an article that suggested some ways to find out about the nature of your character. One example was to spend Christmas alone. I’ve done it and don’t recommend it. So we add to the ongoing lessons of dual household management: plan holidays in advance.
Lesson 2: I’m learning how important it is to have my own space in each household. As much as possible for a continuum of productivity (look, I missed a few weeks posting on this blog), it’s important to have space that allows freedom of creativity and caters to organization. As a visual person, I like to have a bit of inspirational clutter on my desk including a white board where I can map things out. These items don’t travel well in a suitcase. And just because my husband is, well OCD (more on why I appreciate that in this commuter marriage later) we both are in tune with supporting what works for the productivity of the other.
Lesson 3: I’m working on no longer asking myself, who am I today? What role do I play- Mom, Wife, Soloprenuar. Just as I don’t believe that any of us fits in one box or silo none of these positions could exist in the way they do without the benefits of the others. It’s all a work in progress as my (brilliant) husband said to me when I admitted that this past weekend was hard, “Some are going to be hard and some are going to be great, but we have a lifetime of weeks and weekends where we’ll share all of the experiences, good and bad together.”