One day many years from now, I will be looking across the dinner table. I will be thinking about my life and the choices I’ve made. I hope to find peace in that moment without an ounce of regret. My prayer is that there is a man sitting there across from me who enjoys my company and who is thrilled to do more life with me. I imagine that we will look at each other and smile like we did when we were teenagers. I envision there will be a strong bond between us that has been tested but strengthened over time. I know it’s not far-fetched if we do the work now to lay the foundation.
First came marriage and THEN the baby carriage!
I am constantly reminding myself of the fact that before there was baby, there were eight years of marriage unattached. We went where we wanted or didn’t. We didn’t have a bedtime. We stayed up late and traveled without hindrance … sometimes with very little notice. We dreamed of one day being “responsible,” owning a home and settling into a more permanent existence, but kids were not a part of the initial plan. However, once we had done all we desired to do as a two-some, we wanted to share it with someone else.
I don’t regret becoming a mother. I don’t loathe my role or responsibilities. I don’t feel like I’m being held back in any way, but I do know that my husband and I have to be more intentional than ever to put each other first. Our daughter was about a year old when we finally had our first evening out post-partum. Several opportunities had presented themselves prior, but we were so engulfed in being new parents that we wanted her to be with us all the time.
We had forgotten how to even be just us.
That evening, we had dinner, skipped desert and we were back home before 10p.m. My mom called it “pathetic” and teased us. We realized that we couldn’t let it happen again. Our marriage deserves the same kind of nurturing we sacrifice to give to our child. What we feed and tend will thrive. What we ignore will eventually wither.
Recently, we left our three-year-old with her grandmother while we ran away for the weekend. It was the longest we’d ever been away, but it was glorious! We had plenty of uninterrupted quality time without accounting for snacks and naps. We stayed up late and slept in. We went to restaurants without worrying about whether they had a kid’s menu. We danced. We connected. We rediscovered ourselves.
We plan to have another weekend away very soon, but we don’t wait for those opportunities. We get away as often as we can, however we can. The goal is to spend time doing things we enjoy together and be able to talk and have real conversation uninterrupted. Leaving our child with a friend or grandparents so we can go to dinner and a movie or go out and play pool is a great energizer. Sometimes it’s as simple as a midnight run for snacks or ice cream. We enjoy sitting on the patio after our daughter is in bed, listening to good music and talking.
It’s amazing how distant you can become from someone you see every day. The business of life, appointments, obligations, illnesses, work schedules, laundry and all sorts of things seem to come between us. Sometimes it feels like we are so busy trying to take care of so much that we neglect to take care of each other. With so many demands on my time, I have to make sure my husband is always on my calendar and he has to make time for me too. I don’t want my child to bear the burden of being the glue that holds us together because one day we will be empty-nesters. This is hard work, but it’s necessary and worth the effort.
Here’s to good weather, childless dates, wonderful food, wine, sky-high heels and short dresses – all the ingredients for a great escape and grown folk shenanigans!