We’re supposed to be discovering new surfaces on which to have sex.
That’s what people do when their kids leave town. At least, that’s what everyone keeps telling us.
We’ve spent the first week staring at one another. And fighting a lot. And trying to remember just what in the hell we have in common. And how it is that we used to be able to say anything to each other without pissing the other person off.
Because surely, it used to be like that. Right?
Right. Of course it did. And luckily, we’ve been through this enough times for me to know that this is normal. At least, it’s normal for us.
Our relationship is, and always has been, full of ups and downs. I think that’s what happens when you marry someone at 19 and continue to grow beyond your 19 year old self. Two people rarely grow at the exact same rate at the exact same time, and you’re bound to have growing pains and days and weeks and sometimes entire months where you are just living on two completely different pages. In two completely different books.
Moving to Florida almost two years ago has added a whole new incredibly fun dynamic to the mix.
We’re rarely alone together.
When we lived in Iowa, we had the benefit of family and friends who were more than willing to watch our kids on a fairly regular basis so that Jared and I could go out. Together. Sure, we were a little less willing to ask once Emma came along and it was watching kids as opposed to watching Devin, but we still had ample time to spend with one another as people and not just parents.
It’s different now.
It’s not that we never do anything together. We’ve hired a babysitter a few times. We’ve asked friends to watch our kids a handful of times. But it’s rare. Very rare. Our nights and weekends are, for the most part, spent together as a family.
And this has, without a doubt, made us better parents.
When we need a break, when we need to be adults, when we need to relax and unwind without the responsibility of being good role models and raising good people – we turn to each other and ask “will you watch the kids so that I can get away?”
We go to Lexington, Kentucky with our friends.
We go fishing until 2 in the morning with our coworkers.
We’ve developed interests and hobbies and whole lives that have nothing to do with one another. And we’ve happily supported one another in these separate pursuits because we get it, and we want more than anything for the other to be happy.
And we kind of just assumed that as soon as we could spend time along together, all of that would disappear and we would easily pick up where we left off the last time.
Except, we don’t.
We looked at each other and thought, “this should be easier.” And “damn it, why isn’t this easier?” And “I BET THIS WOULD BE EASIER IF YOU WEREN’T SUCH A PAIN IN THE ASS TO BE AROUND!”
Rinse, re – wait a minute.
What the fuck is going on here?
And that is where the magic happens. That moment, right there, where one of us refuses to shut up and the other one refuses to stop trying. That is what makes us, Us. Nine years later.
I would be lying if I said that I didn’t wish it was easier. I wish we were interested in the exact same things. I wish we communicated in the exact same way. I wish that I could say, unequivocably, that we were always each other’s best friends. Because looking around at other marriages that I admire, it seems that is how things are supposed to be.
But if we can’t have that, I’m glad we have this.
If I can’t regale you with tales of how we spent the first week alone reveling in each other’s company, I’m grateful that I can share with you that we have fought, and fought, and fought until we finally heard what was being said.
If we can’t run into each other’s arms with confidence and anticipation, I’m comforted that we can grope our way through the darkness until we’re standing beside each other, spent from the search but relieved to have been found.
He doesn’t give up.
Not on us.
And not on me.
And I’m looking forward to spending the next few weeks enjoying the benefits of that.