We always thought the jump from dating to marriage would be the ultimate test of a relationship. Even though many of the day-to-day things stayed the same as we moved from dating to (early) marriage, we knew we were in for a transition. Gone were the days of ignoring issues and sweeping them under the rug. Addressing problems head on and communicating directly forced this thing called “marriage” into a new reality and a new level of intimacy. The transition was welcomed with open arms. I would go as far to say that the new season of life was comfortable, but we were still being surprised in the most random ways.
Looking back, things were simple. Oh, so simple. Disagreements were trivial and one of the biggest weekly decisions was how early to get to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning. Not because we had a million other things to do but because we weren’t sure how long we wanted to stroll through the market before we got home to open up the windows in our tiny apartment, start mixing a few drinks and begin the slow Saturday afternoon which would lead into a late night dinner.
We couldn’t get enough of one another. We were settled and in love.
We blinked, and we were married a year.
And we decided to start a family.
Fast forward several years later, and here we sit, expecting another baby. Overjoyed doesn’t begin to explain the feeling. Love is still a constant. But our days are different. Nights are different. Weekends are … so, so different. Marriage … with kids is different.
Marriage … with kids …
… finds an extra set of feet in-between the two of you on Sunday mornings asking to watch My Little Pony in the big bed.
… is date night at home, snuggled up on the coach in separate corners because you need the space to stretch out, only to pass out before the second episode of Chopped.
… contains serious heart-to-heart discussions like … what kind of diaper brand will get the job done and let you sleep longer at night.
… understands privacy doesn’t exist anymore. Kids will yell for you regardless of the time, place or position you are in.
… is brutality honest – like him telling you when it’s time to trim your nose hairs … or you telling him when he needs to clean his ears.
… escalates bargaining skills to an all-time high. And calling “NOT IT!” is no longer a kid’s game but rises to the level of Sparta-esque challenges.
… forces one to find errands that need to be done alone (for the sake of “efficiency”) … so they can walk aimlessly around Target or Home Depot.
… often contains pictures without mom.
… is arguing about how, where and when we will get to this holiday or that party without aggravating or inconveniencing someone else.
… is forgiveness and forgetting about the seriously small things that were mentioned in the argument about how, where and when we will get to that holiday or party without aggravating or inconveniencing someone else.
… occasionally allows for those awful expressions to come true … like “two ships passing in the night”.
… contains too many chicken nuggets, corn and goldfish crackers.
… spells out words (or sometimes entire sentences) in the “adult” conversations.
… writes post-it notes on the dishwasher saying “Clean” because you don’t have time to empty it right now. You just need to grab your kid’s glass, but you don’t want someone to toss in a dirty dish.
… is unapologetically disgusting. And side-eyes are common.
… texts daycare gossip, playdate updates, pictures of sweet baby faces and to-do lists.
… brings back the meaning of teamwork, and mom and dad are the home team.
… understands, and phrases like “I get it” are not said out of anger.
… is sharing the last piece of chocolate behind a closed door before dinnertime.
… sneaks a hand-holding or tissue-passing while watching the kids perform in the Thanksgiving school program.
… finds early morning love notes scribbled with tub-safe crayons in the shower.
… cherishes the moments when your eyes lock over an extremely loud dinner table.
… reminds you that you created this little universe together. And nothing beats getting woken up on Sunday mornings with an extra pair (or two) of feet in-between the two of you that want to watch My Little Pony in the big bed.