Reunion- {an instance of two or more people coming together again after a period of separation.}

Today we are so very blessed to have another guest blogger here at theJOYsisters. I have known Elizabeth for more than 10 years, we used to live in the same town. Elizabeth and her family have since moved away, but I love keeping up with her on Instagram and by following her blog. She is a gifted writer and I am so glad she agreed when I asked if she'd add her voice to our collective over here. Today she talks about the JOY in reunions. Thank you Elizabeth!

Eleven down.  Five to go. This is when it gets easier for me.  Easier for me to acknowledge that I miss him like crazy.  Easier to not just do the days, but to find some joy in the days.  Easier to think about him coming home - because that day isn’t so far away.  

I’ll tell you something, though, when it’s five days down and eleven to go, it’s not so easy to see our way through.  Days four, five, six, seven . . . that’s when it seems like he has been gone so long already, but there are still so many days until he will be home again . . .

This is our life.  This is my life. The life of a wildland firefighter’s wife.  A life of “see you when I see you,” or “see you in sixteen days,” or “see you in twenty-three days.”  Sometimes I know how many days to count down until the reunion. Sometimes, I don’t get that luxury. Sometimes we know long enough in advance to write it on the calendar, to anticipate, to plan.  Other times (this time was one of them) we get less than twenty-four hours’ notice. Here, we are still socked in with snow slowly melting into puddles, while south-eastern Colorado is dry as a bone and there have been enough small fires to warrant bringing down an engine and crew from eastern Montana.  

After this roll, when Ben arrives home, I get three days with him!  Then he goes again, and I start counting until the next reunion.

The springtime of the year is a little more predictable than June through September.  My calendar for the next few months is marked out with see-you-laters and reunions. Eight reunions between today and the end of May.  

I tell Ben, “I don’t like it when you leave.  But I sure like it when you come home.” We have gotten really good at reunions.  And I think that in some ways our relationship thrives on them. The heart-racing anticipation of seeing that truck drive up, and yes! there is his dear, dark hair, his sunglasses, his big dark beard.  And there! His broad shoulders, and the arms that I have been aching to feel wrap round me and hold me tight.

I know that our eyes will meet and hold.  I know that we will grasp hands, fingers enmeshed - not just flesh against flesh, but tighter, bone against bone.  “Flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone.”

We know each other so well.  And yet, there are still so many things to learn about each other.  We keep learning how to make these periods of separation not only work, but be beneficial.  We can grow, we can even thrive, in our relationship, over the distance.

We didn’t come into our marriage ill-prepared for this.  The first six months we knew each other - way back when - we lived almost six hundred miles apart.  Those first six months were spent talking on the phone, for hours and hours, learning about each other.  And we found a way to celebrate one weekend of each month with a reunion.

We had a few years where this wasn’t the timbre of our life together.  Where we did “normal” life - a job that Ben came home from every evening.  We ate supper together and popped our little kids in the stroller and went for a walk or to the park.  We made campfires and sat by them together. We tucked our kiddos in and crawled in together. And sometimes we appreciated the normalcy . . . but sometimes . . . it just seemed as though important pieces of Ben’s life were missing.  And important pieces of our marriage were missing. Sometimes, we didn’t realize how much we needed to talk when we were in the same house every evening. Sometimes, we didn’t realize how much our relationship needed an awakening, a reunion to anticipate and to experience.  

Living the way we do now, I more often remember to treat the evenings in the off-season, when Ben does come home every evening, as the joyful reunions, the good gifts that they are.  

If I shower and ready myself especially to see him when he has been away for two or five or sixteen or twenty-three days, why not when he has been away for eight hours?  If I plan a meal I know he will enjoy, and have the daily tasks out of the way when he has been away for days, why not when he has been away for just one? This puts me in a joyful and festive mood, as well.  And joy always wants to replicate. More often than not, in planning joy for another, the double-portion becomes mine.

Stay close to anything that makes you glad you are alive {hafiz}.  And how, when your person is away? Call. Text. Send pictures. Of yourself.  Of where you are. Of something funny you are seeing. Send an anecdote about some people you saw while you were out.  About your dog. About your kids. Let your person know that something made you think of them and why. Maybe it’s serious.  Maybe romantic. Maybe quirky.

I am thinking as I write this, that these are all opportunities to learn how to parent my kiddos when they are grown and living away from my house.  That previous paragraph sounds like some pretty good advice. And still, I’m not sure how one person is supposed to do this . . . this watching your heart go walking around outside your body, sometimes so far away in miles, in dots on a map . . . . I’m finding my way through it, rejoicing in each reunion, each meal eaten together, each night that everyone is tucked in under my roof, where I can kiss foreheads, and whisper good night prayers into ears.

Keep the ones you love in the forefront of your mind, on your heart.  Let the fact that you love them color the way you see the world. The staying close will make the reunion sweeter, filled with joy and ease.  

When I keep Ben a part of my days in the ways that I can, when he keeps me a part of his . . . when we spend the time and make the effort, we reap the rewards.  We find that we have grown closer between the see-you-later and the reunion. We will keep learning this as we go. It won’t always look the same, because life doesn’t repeat or follow a formula.  We’ll keep doing our best. The important things are predictable. That I am Ben’s and he is mine. That Ben does this job because it is part of who he is and he is good at it. Because he continues to teach others to be good at it.  That whenever we get to be he and I together, or he and I and the kids together, those are the best moments of all.

And I do know that one part of our reunion will always look the same: me, in Ben’s arms, face in his chest, tucked under his beard, right next to his heart.  

Elizabeth blogs at and posts gratitudes and joy on instagram @bits_of_sunshine.  


  1. ...such sweet reunion thoughts...Peace be with you as you wait...

    ~Have a lovely day!


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