Remember what life was like without any kids? I can almost not imagine how things were before Ella and Pax were born. I’m not talking about how easy it was to go somewhere without having to pack a diaper bag, stroller, carry on suitcase full of changes of clothes and toys to entertain. I’m talking about relationships. You know, your spouse? It use to be “just the two of us” before there were three, or four…
Looking at pictures, helps remind me. Though sometimes it seems like long ago, or when I was a different person. I am reminded of the love we shared as newlyweds. Our first apartment. Our first car. How we used to wash dishes after dinner and talk or go for walks in the evening to get Rita’s Italian Ice. Kids come, and we both take on new roles as Mom and Dad, almost without thinking. Sure, we mourned our old life a little, but I love my kids and wouldn’t change having them for the world! It’s just that somewhere, it could be easy for Erica and I to lose sight of each other. I see some people who are empty-nester’s now, and struggling with who they are, and what purpose they serve. Since, now, of course, they feel they are no longer moms and dads (Yes a dad is always a dad, but after the kids have grown up and moved out, he morphs into almost a peer-dad and is no longer changing diapers or making the house rules and enforcing curfews etc.)
I like to remind myself that the whole goal of parenting is to one day have “Life After Kids” too! Eventually, if I’ve done my job right, my children will grow up into self supporting, fully functioning adults, and move out on their own to live life away from mommy and daddy. At that moment I will be alone with my spouse, and I don’t want that silence (I’ve almost forgotten what silence sounds like) to be awkward. I want it to be a day that we both look forward to. To spend time together again, talking, sharing life. Without having to talk over a toddler repeating themselves or a baby who is babbling. That means that while we are living this crazy life and raising our children, we must not let our marriage disappear in the fog of war that toddlers and infants create (and as they get older, tweens and teens, too!)
Recently, we’ve been turning off the T.V. at night, since that is such a huge time waster. We have also started spending less time on the computer. We get more done around the house, and I enjoy doing housework with my wife. I know it helps her out, and also we get a chance to really talk and connect. Don’t get me wrong, not every night is a deep discussion, and sometimes we do choose to veg. But as we get closer and closer to Ella’s third birthday, I realize time is going by fast. And before we know it, the kids will be gone we’ll be “just the two of us” again. I want to do whatever I can to prepare for that day!