How I Forgot to Date My Husband (And what reminded me)
It all started with us looking up in our trees at a pair of birds sitting by themselves. "What are they doing?" Isia asked. "They're just on a date," I said, gently teasing. "What's that?" she asked, "Is it when you get married?" My mind quickly scrambled, trying to remember when we last went on a date. Yes, there had been Netflix viewing sessions after the kids went to bed. Quick interludes together fit into the length of one Wild Kratts episode. But getting out of the house together? That hasn't happened, I realize, since Esther was born. Over a year ago.
Now this hasn't always been the case. We were married for eight years before we got pregnant with Isia, so we had ample time to keep dating. Eating out, late nights at our favorite watering hole, and traveling were our favorite ways to connect- and we did them often. Then we became a family of three and, instead of going out for drinks, we took turns making coffee and staying up late rocking a colicky Isia. We still got out of the house time to time, mostly through swapping nights with friends and accepting family help close by, but we wondered in-between diaper changes when we'd return to a more regular night life. Then two more babies came along, we moved an hour away from family and friends, my dad had a stroke, and we stopped wondering. Life became more about survival, and my heels slowly moved their way to the back of our closet. Anytime dating came up, we discounted it as an unnecessary. When life gets easier and the kids are potty-trained/easier/able to stay home by themselves, we've kept assuring each other, we'll get back to it.
Then I looked into Isia's eyes, and realized that a year without dating is a lifetime in her six-year-old world. Lately I've been teaching her how to knit, the beginnings of piano, and the art of dishwasher loading- now I wondered if dating your spouse should be on that list too. If perhaps she needs to see us drop her off, and walk out the door to choose each other- rather than just succumb to the inconvenience. So that she can appreciate someday that marriage means you never stop choosing each other.
So I've been planning our date: arranging friends to watch the kids, updating our babysitter folder, and packing a bag for the kids to take to their house. It's still seemed like a bit of a hassle, but I believe now that it's a worthwhile one. I want our kids to remember that parents need to take time apart by themselves so they can return to their family stronger. And I want us to remember that too.
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