When Matthew goes to preschool, it gives me a chance to do the things I can’t do with two children in tow. The reality of my life is that I do most things I would normally do, and with two children in tow. My kids may not have the best time doing those things with me, and I may be frazzled while doing them (runs to Ta.rget, grocery shopping, walking at the mall, lunches out with friends, etc.), but they tolerate my errands and need to get out of the house each.and.every.day. Sure there are sometimes complete meltdowns from Matthew in the middle of the grocery store, and sometimes I need to pull over in to a parking lot to nurse Bryson, but those moments are few and far between and never deter me from doing that activity again with them.
But there is one thing – one thing – I can’t do with my two kids in tow – and that’s sit at the coffee shop with a friend or two. It’s not relaxing to sit in the coffee shop with a toddler fussing to be anywhere but there. B and I pride ourselves on not being scared to take our kids out for long breakfasts, lunches, and dinners (we really like to eat out – which is a problem), but the thought of sitting in a coffee shop with a mobile, active toddler?
That thought terrifies me.
So Matthew went to preschool twice this week, which means I went to Sta.rbucks twice this week with other mothers. It was glorious – both times! Today’s trip out for coffee was especially peaceful for me because of Monday’s coffee outing.
Let me explain.
On Monday, I went out for coffee with my great friend (and neighbor) E. E and I are like soul mates in a way. We both went through IVF to get our kids (but met long after our older kids were born), live in the same neighborhood, have husbands who work their butts of so we can stay home and focus on the kids, love our siblings unconditionally, parent our own kids the same way, and allow each other to parent each other’s kids. E watches my kids so I can get a massage, or go to the doctor, or just run errands – and I do the same for her. We would not function as well as we do if we didn’t have each other. We see each other at least 3-4 days a week, and sometimes twice a day, and our kids are truly best friends. We get each other coffee and D.Q, and sometimes lunch or dinner, many times a week and never keep track of who owes whom. Suffice it to say – we know each other pretty darned well.
I tell E everything. She knows about my strained relationship with my mom (can we even call it a relationship?), my guilt about sometimes spending too much money, my obsession with clothes for my boys, how often I go to Mc.Don.alds (she gets the text confessions each time), and probably each and every fight I have with B. E is the person I text when an argument isn’t going where I was hoping and I just want to scream. We keep each other balanced and sane.
On Monday, we were having coffee and I don’t even know why this came up, but she very pragmatically asked me, “are you still in love with B?” I didn’t even think about my response – I just said it. I blurted it out:
“Most of the time, yes. Sure there are those moments when I really don’t like him, but they don’t happen often and 95% of the time, I’d say I’m definitely still in love with him. He may not still be in love with me though.”
I went on to say that if you just looked at our text, email, and sk.ype conversations, you would think that we were madly in love every moment of every day. We “talk” very kindly to each other via technical devices. Our text messages usually consist of, “how’s your day? I miss you,” or “how’s my family? Are the boys being good to you,” or “looking forward to you coming home!” Very rarely do we ask each other to do things via text messages, and if we do, those requests always include a “please” and “thank you” and some sort of emoticon. 😉 I like to hop on Sk.ype in the middle of the day to see if B is online, and even if he’s got his status set to “do not disturb,” he’ll ping me just to say hi. We usually talk about our days and discuss what’s for dinner, and that we’re looking forward to seeing each other. It would be sort of nauseating to others, I think, if they could see our chats.
So sharing this with E, I said, “we really should try to talk to each other in person the way we communicate via text and Sk.ype, but by the time he comes home, we’re both just exhausted.” Just saying that, I knew it sounded like the pathetic excuse that it is. If we can be so kind to each other via written words, can’t we be so kind to each other in person? It’s not like we’re mean to each other at all, but we don’t necessarily treat each other as kindly as we should. I went on to say that probably most days, I think to myself (especially after one of these nice text or sk.ype exchanges) that, “I’m going to jump his bones tonight.” But then by the time ‘tonight’ comes, and both boys are soundly asleep, either B or I (and often times both of us) are just so tired and want to go to bed, that I don’t even think about jumping his bones.
Right after sharing all of this with E, I said, “these are the things that Dr. Dan would tell me need to be shared with B.” Dr. Dan (my therapist) says that if something is worth telling someone else about your relationship with your partner, that it’s probably worth sharing with your partner. I agree with this line of thinking 100% – so I told myself then and there that I would relay all of this to B.
B came home the next night around 5:30 from his overnight trip. No – I did not jump his bones 😉 But we got the boys loaded up and headed to dinner (which was decided via a very nice text conversation about 15 minutes earlier). Once at the restaurant, I told B I wanted to talk to him about something. He looked scared. HA!
I told him everything – EVERYTHING – that I mentioned above here in this post. I even mentioned wanting to jump his bones most days but then forgetting about that by the time the day was over. I said that I’d like to talk to each other in person the way we talk to each other via text and Sky.pe. I told him that I am sure I’m still in love with him, even if 5% of the time I don’t like him so much. I told him that the conversation I had with E should have been a conversation I was having with him.
He lit up with a spark in his eyes I haven’t seen in a long time, and said he agreed 100%. I said that, “you may not still be in love with me, and that’s OK, but I know I’m still in love with you.” He said that there’s no doubt in his mind that he’s still in love with me, but that yes – it’s hard to express it with two kids taking up all of our time. He looked so happy.
We left the restaurant, headed to D.Q for dessert, and spoke kindly to one another. We got home, played with the kids, and while Matthew was taking a bath, had a little misunderstanding. We worked through that misunderstanding quickly and with a smile at the end of the conversation. I put Matthew to bed (and fell asleep with him for probably 30 minutes, but B didn’t wake me because he knew I’d be up later in the night with Bryson) while he snuggled with Bryson. By the time I came back to the bedroom, we were both exhausted. We got ready for bed and spoke kindly to each other about the upcoming day, and then we went to bed.
But 10 minutes later, B decided to jump my bones, which made me smile 🙂 There was a connection there that has been missing for a long time. I think B hasn’t known for a long time that he is wanted by me. I never say it, and because I’m always so tired by the end of the day, I haven’t been showing it either. But earlier in the night, I did tell him that I want him, and I told him why I don’t show it. I told him what I should have told him a long time ago. I then showed him that what I said was true.
I didn’t want the night to end.
So today, when I went out for coffee with my friend, S, I went with a light heart. I went with nothing hanging over me in regards to my relationship with B. I went knowing that he and I understand each other, that we know each other, and that we’re still in love with each other. And knowing all of that made my coffee date that much better – that much more relaxing – that much more fun.
(B just skyp.ed me with a pleasant, “Hi!” So – I need to go now and chat nicely with my husband 🙂 )
September 11, 2013 at 4:31 pm
Tears in my eyes. This is so what I needed to read today. Thank you, Courtney.
September 11, 2013 at 4:51 pm
You’re welcome, but it’s Dr. Dan who should be thanked, That man is a relationship genius! All I do is listen to him 😉
September 11, 2013 at 5:29 pm
Can I copy and paste Josey’s comment?!? Tears here as well. I think a lot of us needed this. And the part where you said that you are inlove with him and if he isn’t, that is okay… and then he said without a doubt that he is still inlove with you. Melt my heart. I am sure that conversation was sooo good for both of you. Thank you for sharing this!
September 25, 2013 at 3:04 pm
He melts my heart a lot… and then there are the times that we slip back into regular, mundane routines. It’s all very cyclical!
September 11, 2013 at 7:45 pm
Very inspiring! Thanks for sharing this.
September 11, 2013 at 9:10 pm
Very deep and beautiful post. I think we all get so wrapped up in being “parents” we forget and run out of time to connect other ways too. Me and my hubby certainly need some time away from Aiden to reconnect as well.
September 25, 2013 at 3:02 pm
Yes – being parents becomes the priority and quickly, and it’s so hard to make time to keep connecting. It’s so hard!
September 12, 2013 at 7:52 am
Love that statement by Dr. Dan about sharing things with others and also with your partner. JJ and I have the talk often that we don’t have “us” time now like we did before and must make it a priority. We both always feel better after we’ve had one of those talks where we just let it all out and get back on the same page. It would be nice to get to a place though where we don’t have to wait to have one of those big talks, and it just becomes part of our everyday routine. As silly as this sounds, the one reason I look forward to him going to work is for the sweet text message I get once he gets there. It’s usually “hi beautiful, I’m at work. I love you and the kids with all my heart.” He doesn’t say those things to my face, besides just a normal I love you.
September 25, 2013 at 3:03 pm
Steph, I’m the same way. I look forward to his texts and find myself anticipating them! They make me feel so good!