The strongest part of my marriage is our partnership. We kick ass at being great life partners. And what are we the best at being partners for? Getting shit done. We handle shit. That is what we do.
Oh, we need to save 1 pay check each every single month to afford our wedding? HANDLED.
Oh, we decide to drive 4 hours to Yosemite, rock that national park like what, and drive 4 hours back? Day tripped. HANDLED.
Oh, how about we move? Without packing a single box until day of? With an infant? And we all have terrible colds! HANDLED.
Oh, we have 3 hours to finish unpacking, hang every thing on the walls, go to ikea, and take photos for the blog before picking up the baby at daycare? What?! I think that’s a HANDLED.
We get shit done. So, the partnership part of our marriage only became stronger after we had Gabe. I could walk blindfolded around Target and meet Kamel in the diaper aisle, we’d sniff out a sale on Up&Up brand and then race to the check out, all without speaking, in under 5 minutes.
The partnership was a-ok. It was the intimacy parts of our marriage that took a hit after the baby was born. I’m not talking about the sexytimes, I’m talking about the quiet moments, the just Kamel and me moments, the date nights, the afternoons renting movies, the parts where we just got to breath in the presence of one another. I worried while I was pregnant what it would be like for Kamel and me once there was a little tiny human intruder. It’s a valid concern, life changes in a way that can never ever be undone. There were definitely moments where I felt desperate to do something grownup and sans baby with Kamel. We scheduled a few dates to remedy that holy-shit-all-we-do-is-laundry-together feeling, and it definitely made me feel like I was in a marriage and not a baby-share program. But it still wasn’t enough. A day here and there to feel close to someone, close beyond sharing the day to day grind (which is pretty close already, honestly), is just not enough. A few weeks ago I realized we stopped kissing goodbye. Not out of spite or malice, just because we’re always running. Running to the train, out the door, juggling a million things all at once go go go. Wait. Slow down. Kiss me goodbye. We fixed that mostly.
I keep learning about marriage the more I’m in it. Marriage is a lifetime. It’s 10 lifetimes. Having a bad day is not worth throwing a 50 year marriage out the door for, right? What happens if you have a bad year? A bad 5 years? In the scope of 20, 30, 40, 50…. is it so bad? I think about that a lot. What if we have a bad… year? Would I be able to see it in the big picture?
There were legitimate hard parts to the transitioning into parenthood. I talked about it with Kamel a lot.
“I don’t like this, I’m not feeling connected.”
“Where is all the passion? I want my passion back.”
“I’m not having any fun.”
“All we ever do is go to Target!!”
Sometimes passion takes a backseat to handling shit. Sometimes it takes a back seat to survival.
But I’m learning. I’m learning that if you keep pushing forward, you keep your awareness, the closeness returns. A lifetime, 10 lifetimes, it is a long time. And we found our marriage again. After our days, after dinner and work outs and dishes and baby. When the world all around us is asleep we are curled up in bed. Me with my book or my computer, Kamel playing games. Me nuzzled into his side, his elbow resting on my head, my hand resting on his wrist, our legs coiled here and there keeping each other warm. He tells me he loves watching me read, the way I hold the book, the way I turn the pages. I love having him scootch closer to me, pull me into his side, wait patiently for me to make my little nest. This is our time. An hour, maybe less, maybe like Sunday night where it turned into 3 and then 4 hours of camping out with each other, waiting until after the baby had his first wake-up to finally go to sleep.
“I love you. I love this,” we said to each other before turning out the light.
“See you in bed tonight,” we text back and forth.
Our raft of quiet and peace and calm and togetherness. We are the only people in the world while we’re in this room, no matter what happens the rest of the day – the shitty day at work, the poopsplosion that made me late for the train, the spilled formula…. it doesn’t matter in this space. This space is where I got my marriage back.