Married with children
* Thank you to all the courageous de-lurkers, it was wonderful to hear from you. I mean really, I had no idea Sabra and Amy F. were readers – how fun. And as much as I would like to say, “recognition? Eh, I could take it or leave it,” the need for recognition seems to be one of those fun aspects of the human condition I get to grapple with for the rest of my life!
*Valentines Day recap: Rose swindled Col out of his best Valentines, including the lip-shaped whistle, the tattoo of the weird shaggy-haired Disney prince, one jolly rancher lollipop, and a heart eraser. Dan came through with a single-serving moussey chocolatey cake for Valentines Day, which just as I was cutting it into four pieces, he announced, “oh no, this is just for you. I got the kids earthballs.” He got them one earthball each. Have you ever seen an earthball? It’s like a nano-gram of caroby vitamins disguised as chocolate. And you know how moms are supposed to be all giving and sacrificing and here, have the last slice of elk tenderloin, dear one? Sorry suckers. Enjoy those earthballs.
Dan and I took a walk together, alone, this weekend. We laughed about how much time we used to spend together in the nine (nine!) years before our first child was born. It’s a little surreal, remembering when we ate meals together regularly, oblivious to the simple gifts of carrying on a conversation without a small child broadcasting through the loudspeaker of her downturned mouth, “but, I saaaaaid, take the bwoccoli out of my bowl.”
Dan and I used to go backpacking together for days, just the two of us. We’d lean against wide spruce trees for whole afternoons while the forest yawned and the sun inched across the sky, completely certain there was nowhere else we should be.
My friend Sue has this singular memory that seems to encapsulate the absurdity of the free-time she had pre-children. “A group of us would go out to Carvers for breakfast on Sunday mornings, and if they didn’t have a table ready, we’d just stand around drinking coffee for an hour, waiting.”
It’s so silly and ridiculous, it’s like the punchline to some joke that I wouldn’t have even gotten at 25.
Dan and I crunched through the crusty morning snow and ticked agenda items off our list of things to discuss. Which, I know, sounds about as romantic as winking across the boardroom table at the pinstriped hottie during the powerpoint presentation. But it’s like that these days.
We held hands and lined out the upcoming week, like how to navigate the Tuesday night kid-swap when Dan comes home from work and 30 seconds later I explode out the door to teach my writing class (which I’m doing cartwheels over, professionally speaking).
We stopped to admire grey-green sagebrush against pumpkin cliffs, all sprinkled with snow, and sussed out a short-term solution to the growing pile of deer and elk antlers in our shed. We even shook on it, because sometimes within a marriage lives a business partnership.
Sometimes I feel like something unnamable is slipping through my fingers, something that looks like a young couple leaning against a wide spruce tree while the sun inches across the sky.
Oh wait – they’re still here. They’re holding hands on the lumpy couch watching two children stump across the tile floor in a dance performance called “the cat hair and lego ballet.”
And honestly, you know there’s no place I’d rather be. This marriage has expanded like a parachute, lifting up and then falling and cinching back down around the four of us. It fits just right.
And even though Dan leaves for work while I’m still tucked into our bed, he’s kind enough make me coffee and circle notable sections of the newspaper for me.
To read about the 15-year history of our Nerd Love, go here.