I am finally home. Sitting on the couch with Corey last night was heaven. When he reaches out to put his hand on my arm, I am instantly safe and warm and loved and cherished, and all those things that come with loving and living with this man.
And yet, one of the hardest things I’ve had to do since we’ve been married was to tell the folks that I was working for in Alpine that I just couldn’t live two hours away from my husband. It was so weird to feel guilty about choosing my marriage and my home over my job, but I did. Was my marriage in danger from living so far away? Probably not–we’re both committed in ways that are inscribed pretty much at the cellular level.
I admitted when I told them that I wasn’t going to be able to stay that it wasn’t that I couldn’t do it, it was that I just didn’t want to be away from him. And I was fully aware that, in the West Texas oilfields, people, mostly men, make that choice every day. The oilfield is never in your backyard–if it was, you wouldn’t have to work, now would you. The oilfield is somewhere else… and spouses and kids don’t get to come along. The choice to go is no choice is at all–if you want to make decent money in West Texas, you’re out in the oil patch.
Drive through any West Texas town, and the signs are up on the restaurants and the stores, “Help Wanted.” Because everyone who can swing a hammer or follow basic instructions is out either on a drilling or a pulling rig or working or driving for one of the innumerable service companies that support the effort. And restaurants and stores can’t pay what the oil companies pay.
But I’m not an oilfield worker. So, when an old friend in the high-tech industry came waving a job that would let me have my cake and eat it too–live at the ranch with my husband and work online–I jumped at it.
I need to work; I’ve proved that to myself already. I can design purses pretty well, and design and build furniture fairly well with help, and paint pretty badly and I can do housework until my eyes bleed… but it’s not enough.
I work. It’s part of who I am. I’m good at it–and I have a deep need to contribute to the welfare of my family in ways that can only be accomplished by working. I tried to believe that it was just the isolation of living at the ranch that was hard on me, not seeing or talking to people. That was probably one element. But the biggest was simply that I need to work.
So… I’m working. And I’m home. With Corey.
And if I get any happier, I’m going to have to sit on my hands to keep from waving at people.