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Married with children

February 16, 2011

* 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.



17 Comments leave one →
  1. Audrey permalink
    February 16, 2011 12:03 pm

    OMG, I miss you guys!


  2. February 16, 2011 12:23 pm

    aw. thats a pretty great love letter.
    kate, from pawtucket, rhode island… lurker?

  3. February 16, 2011 12:26 pm

    Move over Disney and Hollywood and all those other knock-offs trying to romanticize love but never quite getting it, and give me your love story any day – the kind that’s real, warm and inspiring.

    Your use of the parachute imagery is absolutely lovely. And so very true.

  4. February 16, 2011 12:55 pm

    Just beautiful Rachel!

    “the cat hair and lego ballet” … I roared!!! I nearly choked on my falafel!!! I wondered when you’d spent time in our living room?!?!
    Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

    And oh, how sweet it is to have just a little while to speak in complete sentences to a partner. One day a week Jim and I have a wee bit of time to do just that, and after 23 years together, we still can talk for hours.

  5. Jessica permalink
    February 16, 2011 1:08 pm

    I promise to comment more now. You certainly deserve the recognition!

    I love Dan’s creative ways. You guys definitely have something special going!

  6. February 16, 2011 1:21 pm

    Okay as always you & the hub are TOOOOOO cute. Makes me smile :) And I wish I was rushing out of the house as my own husband got home to arrive at your writing workshop with a cup of coffee and a notebook. Even though I am getting too old to drink coffee after dinner. (I never learn)

  7. February 16, 2011 1:44 pm

    What views! So much beauty over so much time.
    I so relate to your friend’s singular pre-kids memory – we were laughing over the same simple, small-but-huge thing last weekend. When we go out to a grown-up dinner now, I savor the wait. And at home, my son has just added “Quick! Quick” to his nownownow repertoire. :)

  8. Melissa permalink
    February 16, 2011 2:14 pm

    I feel you on that unnameable something slipping through our collective fingers–

    You and D were so clearly destined for each other!

    Thanks for another installment of beautiful, thoughtful writing!

  9. February 16, 2011 2:18 pm

    Love “nerd-love.” It’s the kind my DH and I share as well. Sometimes I forget we hold a solid chunk of history before our babe was born. Most of the time I almost forget life before Isaac. I jusst love the parachute metaphor. It fits just right for my life too. Thank you. xo

  10. February 16, 2011 5:16 pm

    Rachel this is so beautiful.

  11. February 16, 2011 5:24 pm

    That love note looks like something my hubby would write if we got a newspaper. And nerd-love is the best kind. :)

    Good for you for eating all your chocolate and not sharing. Moms need to do that sometimes.

  12. February 16, 2011 6:53 pm

    “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.”

    You’re shooting arrows through my heart, woman!

  13. February 16, 2011 7:13 pm

    I found myself rocking back and forth as I read this post this morning. And here it is almost 5 and its still open on my computer. You’re as comforting as a security blanket to me, Rachel.

    Thanks for visiting Tao of Twins!


  14. pathheart permalink
    February 16, 2011 7:46 pm

    Dear Rachel and family. You have become such honored and welcomed guests in my home. Rose and Col dance across my laptop monitor clearing unnecessary clutter! I look forward to each new visit from your family. Thanks for the refreshment!! oxox, Laurie

  15. February 17, 2011 7:48 am

    Very nice, you two are lucky to have each other.:)

  16. February 17, 2011 11:10 am

    a good marriage is a great thing, no? one of my favorite quotes is, ‘there is nothing more extraordinary than an ordinary man and his ordinary wife and their ordinary children.’ how true! though i can’t claim the ordinary part! have a good one!

  17. ike permalink
    February 18, 2011 1:12 pm

    Beautiful writing Rachel.
    I feel it is time “slipping through our fingers”. Not much one can do about that except for being in the present which you capture so well.

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