My husband and I just celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. By
“celebrated,” I mean he worked all day while I took the kids to Amish
country with my parents. That evening, as I dazedly sifted through
emails and other various aspects of my online presence, Facebook
declared, “It’s your anniversary,” sending me dashing upstairs to
hurriedly kiss my other half amid the chaos of kid bathtime. I
apologized, my cheeks flushed with embarrassment, that the day was
almost over and I had only just remembered, let alone the fact that I
had to be reminded by social media.
“It’s OK, I didn’t remember until my dad texted me,” he admitted.
Excellent. Happy anniversary, my dear.
face of our relationship has changed dramatically in the eight years
that David and I have been together. We’ve traded spontaneous road trips
for kid-friendly outings carefully planned around napping schedules.
Late-night parties have given way to 4 a.m. diaper changes and date
nights are mythic, on the scale of the jackalope. Where we once had all
the time in the world to spend together, we look back achingly because
so often we took it for granted. Hindsight, you are a cruel mistress.
But, fear not; this is not a sad story.
Five years ago, around
this time, I was frolicking in the Caribbean with my new husband. That
week serves as the pinnacle of the “just us” portion of our lives. We
were coming off the high of our wedding day and were off having exotic
adventures, celebrating and reveling in our relationship. We were close.
We were solid. We were blissfully unaware of how rare such an
occurrence would become.
Five years later, on one of those
Jackalope Date Nights I mentioned, I found myself sitting across from
this man that I’ve shared almost a decade of my life with, struggling to
find something to say that wasn’t about the kids. It was awkward. How
on Earth did we get here? This would not stand. We vowed not to speak of
the children for the rest of the date, and by the end of the night we
were laughing and, dare I say, flirting like we were 20. It was such a
relief to create that boundary, to designate these moments strictly for
ourselves where we didn’t have to be Mommy and Daddy. Instead, we spent
the evening as Sarah and David and it was so rejuvenating. It’s so worth
it to take a little time to connect with your partner and rediscover
what drew you to them in the first place.
Finding time to spend on
our relationship isn’t easy. We are two kids in; it will never be easy
again and I’m not willing to wait until they’re out of the house to
start reconnecting with my husband. I feel like that’s a recipe for
sitting down to dinner in 20 years and not recognizing the man sitting
across from me. We have to actively carve out our own time — five
minutes here, a few hours away there — or our lives will be devoured by
adorable little id monsters demanding things like food, bedtime stories
and games where you are a sick patient being attended to by a doctor
dressed suspiciously like Captain America.
Navigating intimacy as a parent is a difficult road, but I couldn’t have chosen a better person to travel with.