Today Hot Husband and I found ourselves on an unexpected kid-free day, for the whole day. Yes, you read that right. THE WHOLE DAY. I know, right? Unheard of!
After arriving home from a Hen’s Day last night, I discovered that both kids had been invited to sleepovers, and that we had somehow stumbled upon the rarer-than-hen’s-teeth phenomenon of a Sunday, sans children.
As I settled into bed last night, it occurred to me that I couldn’t remember the last time that such a thing had happened. Usually, if we are child-free for any amount of time, it’s to attend an event, or a function, or occasionally to work through a checklist of jobs (usually renovation related).
But, not this weekend! Sunday was wide open, unplanned, and unscheduled. And of course, as usually happens when we find ourselves with down time, we automatically started looking for jobs to do, so as not to waste the opportunity of all of that free time.
“Maybe we should wash the windows today? You know, before Christmas….”
“Yeah, maybe. And the garden definitely needs weeding, and the roses need trimming..”
“Hmm, there’s a bit of washing to get through….and there’s some banking to sort out….what time do we have to get the kids again?”
And we looked at each other for a moment and realised that we were about to fill up our entire day alone with errands and housework. And before we knew it, the time would be gone, and our kids would be home, and we would have missed a great chance to hang out, not as mum and dad, but just as us.
So, instead of all of those other things, we went out and bought takeaway coffees, loaded the dogs up in the car, and sat by a lake in the sun, drinking coffee and holding hands, while they splashed in the water.
As I kissed that Hot Husband of mine right on his lovely mouth, standing in the warmth of the glorious Summer day, I appreciated the fact that after almost 19 years together, he is still my absolutely favourite person to spend time with.
When the first of our Mini Humans entered the landscape of our lives, some eleven and a half years ago, we had absolutely no idea how to prioritise each other amongst the needs of this entirely dependent and helpless little person. We had never had to make such an effort before; quite frankly, loving each other up until that point was dead easy. We had time, we had money, and we had patience. Our biggest source of stress was who was in charge of choosing what to have for dinner, and what movie we might go and see on the weekend.
Then, the Boy Child arrived, and we, like all first time parents, were absolutely gobsmacked as we were rudely transitioned from lazy Sunday sleep-ins and spontaneous dinner dates, to no sleep at all, and lukewarm toasted cheese sandwiches eaten as quickly as possible between the feeding/changing/settling regime of a small baby. We got snarky with each other from sheer fatigue, we argued bitterly about the distribution of our workloads, and for a while there, all of the energy and spark of our entire relationship got redirected into our children, and to providing what they needed.
It became very apparent after a few years into raising our kids, that existing only as mummy and daddy was not going to work for us as a couple. Actively choosing to love each other had to become a priority, despite the sleeplessness, and the tantrums, and the incredible demands of raising little people.
That shit’s easier said than done. No doubt.
In ebbs and flows, between the endless washing, and nappies, and kid wrangling, we would occasionally find each other again, and we’d remember why we chose each other. While we never forgot that we loved each other, sometimes we simply forgot to REMEMBER that we loved each other.
We’d grab the occasional date night if a babysitter was available, where we’d eat quickly, talk mostly about the kids, and take a breather from our life from a minute, and we’d remember. I’d catch his sparkling blue eyes as he hoisted the Boy Child onto his shoulders, laughing, and I’d remember. He’d whisper “I love you” to me, as we drifted off to sleep, after hours of trying to settle a teething toddler, and I’d remember. He’d bring home dinner, and bathe our kids, and wrap his big arms around me as I wept from utter depletion, and I’d remember.
But then, bit by bit, we’d sink back into the abyss of obligation, and stress, and parenting, and we’d forget again.
Our kids are older now, and although their needs have changed, and we all get more sleep these days, our lives are no less busy. Some days are spent entirely on our kid’s activities, with our conversations often interrupted or delayed indefinitely. Between my work hours, and his, there are days where we don’t manage much more than a kiss hello, as we pass each other; him going one way, me going the other.
But, given the chance, ANY chance, I still choose him. Because these days, after all of these years, I understand how important it is to remember that I love him.
And I do; even moreso than back when things were easy.
So, today our windows are unwashed, the garden is unweeded, and there’s a basket full of washing to do. But, I don’t care, not one little bit.
Because today, I had the chance to drink coffee with that Hot Husband of mine, and to enjoy his laugh, and to kiss his lips, and you know what?
Today, I remembered.
Hot Husband, this one’s for you.