On Christmas eve this year, at about midnight, after running through the house like quick and quiet gazelles, getting everything in order for the next morning, I came out of the bathroom in my pajamas ready to crawl into bed and collapse from exhaustion. I looked at my husband, and he nodded over to my side of the bed, which housed a beautifully wrapped Victoria’s Secret bag. My face lit up — and then instantly contorted into a grimace I obviously didn’t hide very well.
He immediately said, “No! It’s part of your Christmas gifts, but I couldn’t give it to you in front of the girls! It’s not for tonight!”
I burst out laughing at myself and the range of emotions my face had just cycled through, and so did my husband. I think we laughed for five minutes straight.
When did this happen?
When did he start buying me lingerie — with a raincheck?
Although I love a good excuse to put together fun packages for our daughters on occasions like Valentine’s Day, I often fail miserably with regard to my poor husband. He usually gets a card that I bought the morning of and usually after he’s already sent me flowers.
The truth is: My husband is better at being sweet than I am.
I know I take it for granted, though there are many times that I physically and mentally make myself stop and say, “How lucky you are in this moment.” And in that moment, I thank the universe for him and this little nutty family we have created together. But then that moment is gone in a flash, it seems, and chaos ensues, and if I’m being 100% honest, the poor man gets knocked lower and lower down the ladder of living beings I need to think about.
Seriously, when did this happen?
When I first moved to a new state to be with my husband, before having our daughters and our dogs and all of the added chaos, my favorite time of day was getting into bed at night. We’d cuddle up and watch Family Guy reruns. I know that doesn’t seem very romantic, but it was the best part of the day. After having a long-distance relationship for so long, the fact that we were able to snuggle up every single night almost felt too good to be true. And I remember when I’d head home after work — even after having lived together for a few years — I’d think, I get to go home to my husband!
I still get excited when he’s about to get home from work. And I am still so in love with that man (which is a good thing, since he’s stuck with me for life). But sometimes I wake from the haze that is motherhood, and I miss those cozy Family Guy moments.
Who knew Family Guy could be so romantic? (Side note: You have no idea how much I hate the word “romantic” and how it took all of my being to actually type it out — twice.)
Right before we were married, I had a small panic attack thinking, I don’t want to become comfortable. I don’t want to be just another married couple. I don’t want this to change us.”
And right before having our daughter, I remember crying while my husband consoled me because I thought, I don’t want this to change us. I don’t want to be another married couple with a baby.
But what I didn’t understand then was this: Unless you stop evolving all together, you will have to change as a couple — over and over.
Maybe we don’t get much alone time, but he still smacks my butt when I’m racing by to get our daughter more milk — every time. Maybe we don’t jump into bed like giddy teenagers, but instead we fall asleep as news coverage fades in the background. Maybe we don’t get to spontaneously take a trip alone somewhere like we used to, but instead we’ve learned patience in having to plan for and savor them when they actually happen.
So, no, we don’t get to stay the same as a couple.
We get to evolve as a couple and maneuver through new adventures. Over and over, if we are so lucky.
I sent my husband a Gchat message last week and wrote, “We need a date night soon. We’re starting to enter the friend zone.”
His response: “Well, Google does have ‘FRIEND’ next to your chat photo.”
I laughed and was about to respond, but he quickly sent this right after: “I just changed it. It now says ‘My Sexy Wife I Love.’”
As I read it, my stomach did a little butterfly flip.
And that, right there, totally beats Family Guy reruns.