I met you when I was just a teenager. Sixteen to be exact. I looked forward to seeing you on a regular basis. You stayed with me for most of my high school and college years. After college, we were together most of the time, but I did have some difficulties in 1991 and your presence with me was a little unreliable. 1992 came around and you magically reappeared without fail. You were with me consistently and I could rely on you to see me through. You got bigger and better as time went on and I was a happy, happy young woman.
I went on to get married and you stuck with me and my husband and eventually our first child. You continued to grow and provide. You were appreciated and never taken for granted. I was thankful. Then, in 1998, I walked away. Just like that. It was a hard decision. I loved having you and I loved the work it took to keep you with me. I turned my back, though, said goodbye to you and some of the freedom you provided and I walked away. I needed to focus on other things and you were distracting me. I didn't know how long we would be separated. My plan did not go that far into the future. Your absence left a rather large hole in our life. My family sacrificed and made changes so that we could live without you. And we did it. We did it well. While life without you was an adjustment, the benefits we received were, and are to this day, worth every bit of sacrifice, worry, discomfort and change. If I had it to do over, I wouldn't change a thing. I would say goodbye again in a heartbeat.
We were estranged for ten years. TEN YEARS! During that time, things were crazy - two more kids were added to our family, we had two relocations and I had two brain surgeries. We were probably better off without you during those times because the additional stress of having you in my life would have broken me. It would have been a lot of work to keep you during those times. In 2008, I invited you to rejoin us and you accepted my invitation. I don't have to work as hard for your attention as I once did and I don't have to work as long. Though you are much smaller now and have a lot less impact on our household than when you were a part of my earlier life, I am thankful just the same. I enjoy having you around and look forward to each time we are together. You are my paycheck and I am glad you are back.