Back before we had our kids, I was doe-eyed girl in love. My man was the center of my world and in my thoughts all the time. When he would go to work, I would miss him. I would count down the hours until he came home and we could eat dinner together and veg out on the couch, watching TV and eating totally unhealthy snacks. We would go out at 2AM to Walmart when we couldn’t sleep just to walk around. Eventually, we would come home and make eggs and bacon and then sleep in until 10 or 11 the next morning. It was young love. It was bliss. And, I took it all for granted.
Flash forward to four-and-a-half years later. We never sleep past 7am and each morning we barely mutter full sentences to one another as we rush around, getting the kids ready for their 2 day a week school program or making their breakfast for a day at home. It is usually chaos and full of lots of loud noises. My husband now works from home and he is in his office most of the day and sometimes during the chaos I will glance at him behind his glass doors and think man, we look…old. Kids have made us old. However, even with the discovery that we are indeed not immortal, I still find him the most handsome guy my eyes have ever seen and his smile is the exact same from when we met a decade ago.
Its only been within the last couple of months that I’ve realized something devastating – we have stopped dating. Don’t misunderstand, we go out every couple of weeks when we find the time or the strength (and really, with two kids under 4 years old that’s impressive), but it is usually something simple like dinner. Don’t get me wrong – dinner is great, especially when there is not two kids pushing food away from them and only reaching for the bread that the waiter has brought. But, we are not dating like we used too. We’re checking the box. We aren’t consumed by each other’s presence like we used to be—like the giddy times of late night movie theaters and running around a park even though we were over the age of 12. Now, we’re overwhelmed with daily life and a date is a moment to catch our breath, rather than a time of letting go of whatever responsibility we have and just thoroughly enjoying ourselves.
We love our kids and believe me, at this point in our life, we desperately want to be anywhere else because their short little lives are flying by. In the midst of this, however, I don’t want to forget this man was brought to me for a reason. Before tiny hands were reaching for us all the time, our hands reached for each other and our love was the greatest love. Not to worry, our love is still deep and strong, but our days are now clouded with loving others and settling in at night just happy to be done for the day.
But with my stolen glances, I’m reminded that once upon a time, he was the only one I loved looking at and his was the only attention I needed. Today, my own sake, I plead with you, moms of young ones, don’t forget your significant other. They are probably a big reason why you’re where you are today and before your tiny loves came along, you had one big love that consumed you. Do whatever you need to do to be reminded of that. Find a little extra time or plan out an extra night to have some alone time, because when those little kids become big kids and suddenly don’t need you who’s going to be beside you? The one you chose first.