Welcome to August, the month in which bloggers’ yearning for autumn, which has been pitched at a gentle whine for weeks, works itself up to a fevered roar.
I feel differently. I want it to stay summer forever. I love autumn as much as the next boot-wearing, pashmina-wrapping, and chai-drinking 20something, but I’m not ready to admit that this summer is almost over because Jon’s arrival is still nowhere in sight.
We’ve been wrong every time we’ve guessed when he might be able to expatriate. First we thought March, when we misunderstood the difference between the petition being approved and the visa being granted; then we thought June, when we assumed the I-129F would come through first; since then, once the I-130 was sent on from USCIS, we’ve been saying August. “Before the end of the summer,” we’ve assured ourselves and everyone who’s asked. “Jon will be here by autumn.” But it would be a miracle the likes of which the State Department has never before experienced if Jon’s visa were granted in the next few weeks.
I know everyone – members of our family, close friends, casual acquaintances, strangers we meet at dinner parties - asks how things are going because they care and are concerned for us, but here's the reality they aren't really prepared to hear:
We’re miserable. We’re miserable and there’s very little we can do about it.
Yes, I know our situation could be worse. I really do know that, I promise, and I know that this whole post is, like I said yesterday, a a self-indulgent wallow. I’m not writing it to gain sympathy – I know I have from you it no matter how hard I smile and promise you that it’s fine and we’re fine and everything will be fine in the end, and that does help a little. But, in a bit more detail, here’s the reality:
Jon and I have been long distance for 797 days. In that time, we’ve spent a total of nine weeks together, most of which fell before our wedding. The vast majority of our first year of marriage will have been spent on opposite sides of an ocean.
The average cost of a non-stop roundtrip ticket from Washington to London is about $1,000. Unless you get really lucky, the cheapest flights start at $700 and it’s almost impossible to find a flight for less than $1,200 each at peak times (like August and Christmas, when we’re most likely to travel given family/work schedules).
Even without visiting each other, the financial consequences of being in a long-distance relationship are difficult to budget for given that we don’t know how long our situation will last. And even with the visits, the demands we’re placing on our families is unquantifiable; both Jon and I have been forced to rely on our parents and sisters for support, both practical and emotional. We should be able to draw strength from leaning on each other, but instead we feel dependent on everyone around us and it's taking a toll on our relationship as a result.
If autumn comes and Jon still isn’t here, we’ll have spent nine seasons apart. We’ll have missed our first wedding anniversary together, plus four out of five birthdays. All of our guesses about when he’d arrive and how hard this whole experience would be will have proven woefully inadequate. So summer, my plea to you is this: stay. Please, August, last a very long time. We can move into autumn once Jon gets here, but until then let it still be summer.