I can see us walking down the streets of cities we’ve never been to, laughing, talking, holding hands as we make our way back to the hotel after an afternoon exploring.

Or maybe we’re lounging on the deck of a boat so white it seems to be made of light as it itself lounges in the cerulean waters off an island I’ve probably never been to (but maybe I have).

I imagine us chatting with our kids, who are away at college, or making plans for when they come home for a break: a camping trip? An outing to a deeply sophisticated metropolitan event (the opera, the symphony) with a stop at the nearest ice cream parlor afterward? Or perhaps an evening getting under each other’s feet while making a 12-course Asian themed meal, followed by a night of intense but playful gaming? Whatever we do I’m sure there will be lots of laughter, teasing, inside jokes, feigned offense (and maybe some actual offense as well).

I see the house we live in: clean, neat, organized, but  . . . lived in. Fingerprints on doorways where the boys once had jumping contests, laundry baskets with clothes peeping out of them, crumbs surrounding the toaster. Too many scraps of cheese in the cheese drawer of the fridge. But also, a porch swing, a garden in the backyard. Perhaps even some fruit trees. If we’re lucky, we may have even learned to grow vegetables by then.

There’s also a shed out back. Or a barn. Where I have a writing loft and Micah’s design studio is housed. We’ll head out there in the mornings, after our run and our breakfast of granola and fresh berries. He’ll make things look awesome and I’ll make things read awesome and then we’ll break for lunch at 1:00. Chat a bit, then head back to work for a few hours before going to the game or the play or the activity that the kids are involved in.

I can see these things in our future. I hope them and I hang on to them. They feel real to me, certain. As if the path we are on leads no other way.

But even though the path feels so certain, I have no idea how that place connects to the place we are right now. Right now feels so unstable, as if everything could change in a moment, and it already has, several times. Tomorrow a phone call, an e-mail, a delivery from the mail man could rock us just a little bit more. And while I’m hoping for news, encouragement, something to look forward to, I need some stability. So I have buried my head in the sand, in the minutiae of each day, and I’ll keep that image of the future playing through my brain: That is the goal, that is where we want to be. That is what we are working and waiting and hoping for. Even if it takes us 20 years to get there.

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