December 28th, 2019 – Shane and I had just returned from our honeymoon CRUISE, yes, I said CRUISE. We quite possibly could’ve been one of the last cruises that wasn’t affected by Covid-19.
You could say we were definitely on a “honeymoon” high – recently married, new house, new jobs… life was good.
January hit and we were finally getting into the “flow” of everyday life. School had started back up and Shane was settling into his new job nicely. Then, BAM life happened. January 29th, 2020 I had emergency surgery to remove an orange sized cyst on my left ovary. Overall, it was an “easy” surgery but still pretty scary.
This did however confirm that I had in fact married the best human in the world – Shane waited on me hand and foot and even put up with not so calm behavior – not to mention the anxiety that came from missing work. He did so with absolutely no complaints during my entire recovery.
Slowly but surely I was coming back to life – I had returned to work and was FINALLY cleared (after six weeks) to return to my normal workout regime. I had just ordered my Peloton right before my surgery and was DYING to get started.
February was fairly normal – we celebrated our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple (EEK!) by having a nice date night to one of our fav restaurants The Bristol. Little did we know this was one of the last “normal” outings we would have for awhile. OH AND THE CHIEFS WON THE SUPER BOWL.
At school we were tracking this crazy virus known as “Covid-19” and during every morning meeting we would send well wishes to everyone in China who was struggling with this sickness. We, me included never expected this would soon affect us more than we could ever imagine.
March came quickly, us teachers were trying to get in as much learning as possible before spring break – while that “virus” slowly started creeping closer and closer to home.
March 12th, 2020 – the Thursday before spring break. There were rumors here and there that school was going to get canceled that Friday. Then, the big rumors starting flushing in – “I could see them shutting down for two weeks after spring break to let all the schools have time to get a deep clean”. No one really knew anything – it was all speculation.
That day – right before dismissal our principal came over the intercom and asked all students to get anything they might need out of their desks and lockers. As a teacher, I tried to stay as calm as possible but there was no denying everything was a bit eerie.
After finishing dismissal – I came back to my classroom, took a few extra things and walked out the door – not realizing this was the last time I would see my students. That was a hard pill to swallow, these were my little humans, my people – I was supposed to see them graduate 5th grade but instead I was stuck inside of my home for the foreseeable future.
Cue the “Covid Honeymoon Phase”
It has officially been 5 months today, since I last stepped foot into work. Spring break came and went – things were weird but still doable. Then came the next wave of days, weeks, and ultimately months.
You know when they say “marriage is hard and that you’re going to have to work for it” – well, I believed them I just didn’t expect it to come so soon.
At first, I was loving it. Shane was still going into work but only two days a week – so, I felt as though we had more time together. We were going on walks daily with Stella Mae, cooking dinner every night together and enjoying snuggling on the couch watching our favorite movies.
At times things still felt normal, but then the anxiety started to creep in. The unknown was everywhere and it started to become overwhelming. When were things going to go back to “normal”? When can I see the rest of my family? When can I see my friends? Do I get to send my 5th graders off to Middle School? What if I get Covid?
I remember laying in my bed, getting a text from my mom and seeing this picture of my grandparents. I immediately burst into tears. They had recently moved into a facility in KC – which was great except they didn’t know many people so they were dependent on us to come see them. This was hard.
That day I remember being in a really shitty place – I couldn’t wrap my head around what was happening in our world yet I felt selfish that I was having such a hard time. Selfish because Shane and I were still receiving paychecks, selfish because I had my health, and selfish because I had much more freedom than most.
This began the spiral of struggle that soon intertwined itself in my marriage. One thing Shane and I pride ourselves and our marriage on is communication. We both believe communication is key, but at that moment communication was hard for me.
Soon everything the other person did was aggravating – I’m sure it didn’t help that I was no bundle of joy at the moment. We were bickering more than we ever had in the 2 years we had lived together. Everything was an argument which led my over imaginative brain to go off the edge.
Instead of asking Shane how he was doing or if he was holding up – I instead internalized EVERYTHING. Thinking he wasn’t happy and that “normal” marriages didn’t look like this – especially this early on.
I continued this for weeks – and it was easy to put on a brave face because of the circumstances. I wasn’t seeing anyone and phone conversations were easy enough to get through.
My anxiety got to a point where it was making me physically ill. My body ached, I had migraines on a weekly basis, and I was overall exhausted. BUT, I still felt like I didn’t have the right to be this distraught – there were “others” out there who had way bigger problems than mine.
Thankfully for me, Shane was more aware of what was going on then he led on. He finally sat me down and basically wouldn’t let me get up until I caved. Let’s just say – that is no easy task. Some might say I am a bit hard headed…
But let me tell you, coming from a human that has way too much emotion for her own good – when I caved I caved hard. I cried and I wasn’t even sure why – I felt scared and anxious but more importantly – I felt loved and relieved.
Shane did what he does best – he communicated with me. Talked me through my emotions but most importantly he validated them for me. Validated my emotions – let me know it was okay to feel the way I felt and even encouraged it.
He looked me in the eyes and said – someone with a heart the size of yours doesn’t just feel her own emotions she feels everyone else’s too.
He told me that he had tried to watch from the sidelines to let me figure it out on my own (knowing damn well that’s what I would’ve wanted) but then he told me that he had promised to protect and love me through sickness and health and although the health had disguised itself as anxiety and self-doubt – it was present, very present.
In that moment, I looked up at this man and knew I had married my human. The human that will get me through anything. The human that loves me for all that I am.
There is no “normal” when it comes to marriages – every marriage is different and that is what makes marriage beautiful. Every marriage has its strengths and weaknesses and it is the “job” of both parties to come together and work through those. Knowing damn well sometimes one side is going to be holding everything together while the other side sits helplessly needing guidance, and that is OKAY.
One of my biggest strengths AND weaknesses are my emotions. When I love – I love BIG. Just so, when I hurt – I hurt BIG. Even worse, when I hurt I don’t want to have to ask for help. So, in that moment when Shane sat me down – I didn’t have to ask for help, he just gave it to me knowing that was exactly what I needed.
So no, not every day is going to be rainbows and butterflies especially in the middle of a pandemic when you’re spending all of your time with your partner. Life is hard and marriage is even harder. We are navigating through uncharted waters and we’re bound to get taken by the waves every so often.
The one thing you can hope for is a human that will swim through those waters with you no matter how many sharks they see – and hold you up when the waves get to be too much.
And for me, that human is Shane Charles Miller.