A recent poll I showed asked what was wanted for Valentine's Day. I'm assuming the intended responders were women based on the options of flowers, chocolate, jewelry, a date night and peace and quiet.
Since Shelby's birth three and a half years ago we have not had a date night. I have gotten flowers. I'm not big on jewelry and chocolate just isn't a big deal gift for me.
So, this weekend for the first time, we are going away just Mommy and Daddy while grandparents come for a visit. Yes, this is long overdue.
For the first 18 months of parenthood (and by 18 months I had an 18-month-old and a four-month-old) my thoughts were hardly of my marriage so much as babies. And quite honestly, we felt better being together as a family with the kids at that point. It wasn't that we thought things were bad when it was just the two of us, we just preferred the kids around. But a couple of months later, around Mother's Day, I was feeling like so much of a mom and not at all a wife. At the time Shelby and Joey were in daycare and Joey's teachers offered free babysitting on the Friday night before Mother's Day at the center for all the kids in their class for and a small fee for additional siblings. They even told me when they handed me the flier that they wouldn't charge us the fee for Shelby as they loved her so much. I was flattered and told Jeff I really wanted to do it and he agreed somewhat reluctantly and so I RSVP'd yes. Then, on the day of, Jeff canceled with the teachers and told me after I got home from work. He said he just felt like our time was so short with the kids that we needed to have them with us. He also said he paid for Shelby and gave them money for Joey because he felt since we were going back on our part of the bargain we should compensate them. I agreed with the compensation but I was upset about losing the time together. I kept it in perspective though, what Jeff said was true.
A few months later, I was pregnant with Will and shortly after that we both lost our jobs. We were planning an anniversary trip for March of last year and kept it just scaled it back and, of course, included the kids. But I was seven months pregnant so I was in full family mood again. But fast forward eight months and I had a six month old and something just felt like it was lacking in our lives and it wasn't the presence of the kids! I began asking Jeff for a date night, a movie after the kids went to bed, anything! But I was working nights and Jeff was doing his student internship and life was stressful enough without me begging for attention.
For my birthday we had decided to celebrate with some of Jeff's friends at a college football game. I had intended the kids to come with us as many of his friends had not met them, but Jeff decided we would leave them with my parents at their home. We had a great time with other adults, but it was clearly a family event as witnessed by everyone else's kids present. So it was a semi-date night.
After the successful night with my parents for the three kids, we decided we might be willing to try again and I ultimately booked this coming weekend (through my work I get a significant discount) to go to Emerald Isle and relax while my parents come for the weekend to watch the kids and the dogs. I am excited but also nervous. I know I will miss the kids and often wonder what they are doing. But at the same time, I will be enjoying the date night atmosphere as well as the peace and quiet. If flowers or chocolates make an appearance, that's okay, if not, it's cool too. And for the first time in a while, I get to be just a wife for a few brief seconds. I won't stop being a mother, but people won't identify me as that right away, it'll take two minutes.
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