Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sweetest Day

It's now after midnight and Steve crashed asleep while I was grading papers, so I didn't get a chance to tell him we actually celebrated Sweetest Day.  First time we've done that since that one year in college when he bought me those antique lace roses at Kroger's.  Ten bucks!  Can't beat that!  But we had a remarkably lovely day yesterday, considering that the background noise for much of the day was crying children.  Well, not Simone.  She slept her way through the madness of 6 houseguests, so she was fairly unruffled.  Jack and Andrew, however, were completely burned out.  You could hear their grief over the loss of their regular routine as they wailed from the backseat.  Sometimes it was because they wanted different food. Other times it was because someone's hand crossed the imaginary line between the car seats.  Other times...who the hell knows. 

When more than one child is fussy, our family does Car Therapy.  We load everyone up and just start driving.  Yep, it's not the most evolved form of parenting.  But it keeps us sane.  First, we went by the art museum so Steve could see that awesome (awesome!) exhibit with the recycled materials turned into an angry mob scene.  Hard to explain, but it's one of the neatest exhibits I've seen.  Then, we decided to drive the 45 minutes (okay, an hour) to our nearest Trader Joe's to buy some raw cashews and whatever else we found ($200 later, I think we find a few things...).  We were sure they'd nap.  Nope.  Westbound 64 had a burned out RV on the bridge across the bay, so there was about 10 miles of back-up.  Even people on the 8th mile were out of their cars chatting with neighbors, so I guess they'd been there awhile.  

We decided we might as well drive an extra 30 minutes to Williamsburg to check out the Hannah Andersson sale, as opposed to getting stuck in that mess on the way home.  Oh yes, and the Yankee Candle place I wanted to show Steve.  It was the most random sequence of stop-offs ever, just trying to coerce our children to sleep.  Usually when they're that tired, they fall asleep by the time we get to Mediterranean Ave.   Instead, they just cried in the back.  Not the kind of cry that breaks your heart and moves you to snuggle with them.  The kind of cry where it's so pathetic that it takes all your energy not to laugh in their face.  If you're a parent, you likely know what I mean.  Or are we the only ones who feel that way?  They both just needed to whine out their overstimulation from the week of guests and excitement, and it was so dramatic that it was hard not to giggle.  Andrew was singing a song about wanting more hemp milk (we were all out) and Jack was just fake crying misery.  So Steve and I were able to have an adult conversation in the front seat about how silly life seemed sometimes with all these little munchkins hanging around.  

We had such a good time!  

Who would have thought?  All this, and then to cap it off... Dawn (bless her heart!) watched our boys for a few hours while we went shopping.  I was sure she's be left with some whiny little creatures and would have to phone us shortly, but it sounds like it went well.  Steve and I joked that they were probably thrilled to get away from us (and vice versa), as they're probably a bit sick of us right now too. ;)  

It was so nice to feel like a couple again.  Even when we had the boys in the back, we still had some nice quality time chatting away.  It's nice to be reminded how much I love hanging out with him.  On our honeymoon in Italy, we were failures at jet lag...so we found ourselves falling asleep in the afternoon and then waking up at 2AM.  We'd stay up the rest of the night talking about everything and anything and just loved spending time together.  I'm reminded of that every time we take a road trip (even if it's just the longest series of errands known to man, like yesterday).  I really and truly enjoy his company.  That's a nice feeling when we get those little windows of being reminded we're not just parents together, but he's my best bud, too.  

When we decided to have our three so close together, we knew it would take so much work to stay afloat some days.  Now that we know our family is complete, it's a really warm feeling to know that our children will reach an age coming up when we can have more balance.  They won't need us in such a time-consuming way, so we'll be able to be parents AND have more time to just chat.  Have grandparents stay with them while we go off to Vegas for the weekend or something.  It sounds nice.  

I always read about marital satisfaction dropping off post-kids, and I don't really see that here.  It's just soooo different.  There's nothing more bonding, I don't think, than watching the man you love adoring your children as much as you do.  That I can tell him stories about something Jack or Andrew said that day, and I know he'll get that sentimental joy and pride as much as I do.  And there's definitely a shared camaraderie as we hide in the front seat trying not to giggle at the cacophony of misery in the back of the van.  I can't even describe how much I love this man.  But it will also be nice to watch an entire movie with him on the couch and not have 5-10 interruptions from various child-related things.  

It's all about phases, y'know?  Right now, we're in a 100% parenting intensive stage, and we have to just know that's where we're at...and take our couple time whenever we can get it.  Some nights we crawl into bed and say (before falling asleep from exhaustion 2 seconds later): "I miss you."  It's strange to run in circles around each other and not always intersect.  But there are little "postcards" of connection in the midst of the parenting chaos.  Like when the nurse called me after Steve's surgery and said he'd come out of general anesthesia and was ready to be picked up...but that he'd asked if they could wheel him out to the parking lot so I wouldn't have to come in with all three children.   I immediately became teary-eyed with emotion.  I was so touched that he was thinking of my ease/comfort when he was still halfway drugged.  

That's the ultimate of romance in my book.  

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