Last weekend we went on a date. We are trying to do that more often. Not just regarding time but with intention. We arrived, ordered our beers, checked them in to Untappd and out our phones away. We allowed for some kid talk and then moved on to us. A little check-in. About our feelings, our progress and what we still need in our new phase. There is no way our marriage will survive without this work away from the kids. If yours does, hot damn! Get it. Revel in it. High fives for figuring out what works for you. We need something intentional. Out of the house. Away from the potential interruptions. We need something different. We knew this. We know this. We have just recommitted to allowing for this time to work on us. This is what we need.
We went to a favorite spot. Where he can order his hoppy DIPAs that make me gag and I can order my sours that make his eyes cross and lips pucker. It was strange to be there without kids. It took a minute to settle in and relax. We kept looking around...confused, I think. Like we were missing something. We often bring our kids there. Usually, one stays with the kids at the table and the other watches the mobile ones. But this time? We ate our meal while it remained the appropriate temperature. Didn't have to cut things into smaller pieces. Or wipe faces, hands, table, etc. And once the meal was done we sat in the adirondack chairs and watched other people chase their kids. Suckers. It was bliss.
I appreciate the time with him. More so than I ever have. It’s not as effortless as it once was. Not that it’s hard. But we are still learning the new people we were allowed/forced to become. We are still healing the hurt(s). There are many. And it is often that one apology does not do the trick. Neither of us are blameless or free of scars. It takes work and faith and gentleness to acknowledge the hurt while working past it. There is no easy way past it. There is only through it. Sometimes it stings as much now as it did then.
That has been the biggest surprise for me. I guess. That one song or one look or one missed moment and I am back to 2018. Or even worse 2017. My breath catching and my eyes and heart searching for the truth of the moment and not the muscle memory of the past. It is work, you lot. To retrain. To recategorize. To trust again. But these date days help. They remind us of the reasons we said "I do" in the first place. And the reasons we said "I'm in" in February. It's a conscious commitment. Every day. I am so thankful I allowed my gut and heart to check my brain. Which reminded me that everything I felt, thought, believed and, yes, wrote pointed to never. That categorized our marriage under unsalvageable. That labeled another person as beyond redemption or worth. Who the hell do I think I am? I am thankful that my brain continues to check my heart and gut when the line between then and now blurs.
The road is long. Unknown. But I have always taken the road less traveled. Never alone but rarely the one that is smooth and easy from all the travelers who went before me. That is not my way. It has never been my way. I know no other way but I do believe that it truly has made all the difference. And being able to navigate that road sometimes without kids and a sour beer in hand can make a huge difference. Raising a glass to those who do the hard work. Whatever that looks like in your life. You are absolutely kicking ass. Take a moment today and celebrate. That's what the hard work is for. So that the celebrations are that much sweeter.
P.S. We did the math. To pay for the sitter and lunch for the two of us, cost the same as lunch out the 5 of us. Whaaaa?!?! That will make it a lot easier to kiss the kids and get the hell out of dodge next time.