I have a large network of people online that I am very close with. People who have been there for me through the ups and downs, time and time again. And I'd like to think I've been there for them too. I may not be able to point them out if I saw them in a real-world crowd, but they are people who know the significance of numbers like 601 and 212. People who know the emotional weight of acronyms like EWI and NVC. These people came into my life unexpectedly and continue to do so each day. And most days, I feel like they are the only people who will ever truly understand me or my family or our "situation."
Many of these people were separated from their spouses on Valentine's Day. And for many of these couples, this wasn't the first time, and it surely won't be the last.
You see, some people feel sorry for me because I was forced to choose between my marriage and my country. Some people feel pity for a gringa in Juárez. But most days I tend to think that pity is ridiculous. I feel pity for the people that can't move because they have children from a previous marriage and their ex won't allow them to take their children outside of the country. I feel pity for those who can't move because they have an ill family member that they must care for on a daily basis. I feel pity for people who have illnesses that can't be properly treated in a 3rd world country and prevent them from leaving.
Those are the families that are hurt the worst by the draconian immigration laws in the US. I don't mean to make light of people who are in my shoes, because it's no walk in the park. But I'd rather be in this place than where a lot of others are. I'm glad my family had a way out, a way to be together.
My heart goes out to those who didn't get to spend last Friday with their husband or wife. I don't consider myself to be especially romantic, but on a day that can feel like an endless cluster-fuck of Hallmark cards and teddy bears and Facebook feeds full of bouquets of roses and pink balloons, I would imagine that separation is just a little harder. I know that every day apart is beyond difficult, but I imagine that it stings just a little more on the 14th, even for the strongest couple.
I want you to know that I thought about you guys. I hope this was the last Valentine's Day that you will be apart. I hope you can all find your way home, or at the very least, a way out.