Two seats ahead of me, I watched a vibrant, young, childless couple caressing one another in the cold vinyl seats of the Disneyland tram, while I sat in solo parent exhaustion, smothered in 3 children on the verge of monumental meltdowns. I found myself becoming melancholy and nostalgic reflecting on the couple my husband and I used to be.
At one time we were caressing one another, stealing kisses anywhere and everywhere, holding hands just because. Warm strong arms wrapped around my waist with reckless abandon was familiar. What was once a bed of romance and frequent intimacy where our babies were conceived and where we were always intensely intertwined while we slept, is now a place solely for rest. A place where, if and when we even fall asleep in the same bed and not on the couch, a cold dark valley presents itself down the center of the mattress as we excuse ourselves to opposite sides of the California King.
On the outside, we’re just living the dream. The “dream” to many people is marriage, kids, a house and perhaps a dog. The truth is that there is no dream. Life is what you make of it. You bust your ass to do the best that you can and prioritize how you see fit. Marriage takes work. That information is nothing new. Two people taking on life and the world together. The world, with its constant trials and tribulations, triumphs and defeats. Navigating the emotion and change that go along with that is no easy feat. Adding a family to the equation brings pure unexplainable joy but also copious amounts of stress and chaos. Differences in goals and commitment fueled by lack of communication can also bring deceit, separation and divorce.
I don’t ever want to get there.
But I am here.
How did we get here?
How do we get out of here?
Is here a bad place?
Are we both here?
Does he like it here?
Where is here, you might ask?
Here is a place where we inadvertently switch ourselves to auto pilot. A place where we put life’s routines and commitments above the commitment we’ve made to one other. Floating effortlessly from one responsibility to another while behind closed doors we are struggling desperately to stay afloat in a sea of complacency. We resemble robots, completing monotonous and obligatory tasks. We pass in shifts, leaving exhaustion as our only topic of conversation.
Instead of “you look pretty today,” it’s “did you wash any of my socks for work?”
“Come give me a kiss,” has turned into “are the uniforms clean for Saturday’s game?”
“I missed you today,” has now become “how much do we have in the checking account?”
I feel lost at times. I have transformed into the maid, the queen of errands, the school volunteer, and the perfecter of the Fluffernutter and banana sandwich, not a sexy desirable wife. He has become the financial provider, the handy man, and my brief relief from 3 children upon his arrival home after a 12 hour day, not the handsome hot husband.
Priorities have shifted and roles have become blurred. We need to be reminded of the two people we fell in love with and why. Strip away the exhaustion and worry, the obligations and trivial commitments and be reminded of our love and adoration for one another way back when it was just us. Reminded of the carefree and silly woman I used to be, buried beneath the strict responsible exterior. Reminded of his charismatic charm hidden beneath financial stress and obligation. Sitting in silence, merely going through the motions solves nothing. This is my marriage. This is my life and I’ll be damned if I am going to sit around and see what else here has in store for us.
So today I will slap on some red lipstick, showcase the long hair that so frequently sits imprisoned in a mom bun, and wear that simple green dress he always talks about which unfortunately hangs outcast and abandoned in the back of the closet for most of the year. Today I swallow my pride, make the time, make reservations, make conversation, make a connection and perhaps when all is said and done, make some love.
Are you here? Isn’t it time to leave?
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