Tonight is our last night in Puglia. Tomorrow we head for Rome, the airport, and fly out on Tuesday. That will be the end of three wonderful months in Italy. Three months with my husband that form part of an experience we never expected to have. Three months where we actually didn't rip each other’s head off, though of course there was a bit of yelling, usually over the issues of travel planning, or navigation. Fortunately, yelling like that is quickly forgotten.
I've had friends and family joke about how often we have wanted to kill each other. And yes, probably the answer has to be “sometimes” if we’re honest. But when some people say this to us, they sound puzzled that we could go almost four months (since we left home) with each other as company, as the only people we talk to, as our social fun, and emotional support. Yet we have.
And we were talking about it tonight, as we were at dinner tonight. We watched a couple – younger than us – struggle to make conversation. And we thought about their lives – probably busy, maybe difficult financially, almost certainly with children. And we realised that our relationship is probably the beneficiary of the “no kidding” factor in our lives. We don’t have to be parents together, we don’t have to have battles about different parenting philosophies and styles (and believe me, we would have had a few battles), we don’t have to crawl in bed exhausted from looking after children, wrestling with toddlers or teenagers, juggling our annual leave so we can look after the children in school holidays, and never finding time for ourselves as a couple.
As a couple without children, we are able to just “be.” It doesn't mean we don’t have difficulties. Dealing with no income when we get home will be a struggle, and is sure to put strains on us. Stress and foreign situations can be difficult too at times, and health issues are always a worry. But we are able to know each other in perhaps a different way, in perhaps a deeper way than I suspect we would have time to do so if we were parents. And for that, for our close relationship now, I am very grateful. (And I think he’s okay with it!)