“Are you sure you’re okay?” Jaime asked, hesitating.
We’d been pushing it all week: driving from Iowa to Wyoming on the fringes of a several-state-spanning blizzard then switching over to cross-country skies, snowmobiles, and snowshoes. After six days in the cold, with more than a foot of fresh powder on top of the already hip-deep snow, I had nothing else to prove and nothing left to give. I also had a good book, a warm drink, and a chair by the fire.
Jaime knew I could spend a happy day at Old Faithful’s Snow Lodge. He also knew he wanted to strap on his snowshoes and go. What he didn’t know was how I felt about staying behind. This is just one of many reasons it’s tough being a man.
He’d cracked the door, and it was tempting to hold it open for a nice, relaxing day together at the lodge. The two of us could stroll to where the shoveled sidewalk ended to watch Old Faithful erupt, then bring our cold selves back and order coffee. Read by the fire. Order lunch. Take a nap. Play a game. Talk. Jaime would stay back with me and I knew it—just as I knew it would be good for him to get out into the wild. Alone. As in, without me. This is just one of many reasons it’s tough being a woman.
By nature, he is servant-hearted and selfless. While I have my own gifts and good qualities, I am . . . less so. And while this is just one of many reasons it’s tough being married, it’s part of the adventure.
On Whose Terms?
Jaime had graduated from years of hockey and given up four-wheeling, trading his customized-for-wild-times jeep for a serviceable truck. He was quick to embrace the ski-slopes and the back-country trails that I brought to our union, but usually as part of a set. Because that set included at least me—and usually our young kids, he governed his pace and trail choices according to the comfort and limitations of others. He regularly got himself and our family out into the healing powers of creation but rarely engaged it on his terms.
After five days out in Yellowstone’s deep winter, I was done with the constant cold and exertion that any outdoor activity required. He, however, was not. I could enjoy my coffee, my book, and the fire. I could stroll out to see Old Faithful on my own. He could spend his day out on snowshoes, allowing the pristine solitude of the wilderness to challenge his body and speak to his soul.
That was our plan—the one we’d made together. He didn’t need permission. What he needed was to know that I was okay—really okay—with our plan.
“Oh, yeah. I’m good,” I said, closing the door Jaime had cracked open. Leaning down, he kissed me, picked up his snowshoes, and headed out.
What do you need for your next step?
Do you need to choose your adventure? Make a mutually satisfying plan with your partner? Maybe kiss her, pick up your equipment, and head out?
Tell us about it. We’d love to hear.
Happy trails ~ Natalie
Photo credit: Aaron Huber, Thomas Lipke on Unsplash.