Life has been hard lately. Not the kind of ‘LOL, adulting is tough!’ kind of hard, but the kind of hard where it feels like we are struggling to stay afloat.
Most days, it feels like we are managing life instead of living it. Kids, school, homework, practices, work, and folding the never-ending mounds of laundry. It all seems to be an impossible juggling act. Somewhere in the chaos, we sometimes forget about each other.
We used to be intentional about spending time together. We used to have such big ideas and dreams to share. Now, all of our conversations revolve around scheduling and to-do lists.
I can’t fake pillow talk when all I want at the end of the day is to be quiet. I have sung songs to toddlers on a loop, because it’s either that or listen to them yell. I have been screamed at, cried on, and asked 100 questions about absolutely nothing. A tiny person has been touching some part of me every single minute of the day. I have spent the afternoon in survival mode with whiny children, big feelings, and lots of tiny emergencies. I have craved silence. I really want to ask you about work and your day, but I don’t have anything left to give. My brain is mush, and no matter how hard I try, I feel like I am only pretending to listen to you.
I remember us as newlyweds and how obnoxious we used to be. Holding hands anywhere and everywhere, sneaking kisses whenever we had an extra few minutes in the car. I wish I could be that girl for you, but today I just can’t. I’m gross. I’m exhausted. If one more person touches me, I might lose it. I want nothing more than to sit in my invisible bubble where I can have personal space for the first time today.
I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I love our life. I adore our children. But this is the hard part.
The moments of unexplainable love and pride and sheer joy are sprinkled throughout the struggle of keeping up with life. The days are so long. People keep telling us that the years are short, and if is true, let’s hold on to the good stuff and hunker down and let the tough stuff fly by.
We’ve heard of couples whose children grow up and move away. Two people who have been married forever are on their own for the first time in ages, and they suddenly realize that somewhere along the way, they lost each other. Somewhere in the demands of the day to day craziness, they grew apart. They gave all they had to their children, and there was nothing left for themselves. For each other.
Every evening I have intentions of being pleasant and cheerful when you come in from work. I miss having you around. I miss your calming presence, and the way you are fun and silly with our kids. I desperately want to be the wife who welcomes her husband with a clean home and dinner. Usually, I welcome you with a sigh of frustration and a countdown to bedtime. If you are lucky, you have around 10 minutes before I start complaining. Nagging. I hear myself. I hate it, but I also don’t know how to stop.
I wonder if at some point it will seem easier to put in extra hours at work instead of coming home to an exhausted wife who seems to be barely holding it together?
At some point, will you stop trying to have meaningful conversations with me, because they always lead back to a honey-do list?
Will you stop going in for a kiss before bed, because a man can only be rejected so many times?
Will date nights disappear altogether, because it becomes just another chore?
I know that pursuing each other seems hard right now, because we both have so little left to give at the end of the day. But, please keep trying.
Keep scheduling date nights when I complain about childcare. Those evenings where I have on nice clothes and eat a real meal and we have conversations without interruptions — those evenings recharge me. They remind me how well we fit together and why we chose each other for life.
Keep coming home from work excited to see me, even though it’s guaranteed to be messy and hectic. It’s the thing I most look forward to every day. I watch the clock and countdown the hours for you to come home. I never want to stop looking forward to hearing your car pull in.
Please keep telling me I’m gorgeous when my greasy hair is forced into a ponytail and my shirt has smeared oatmeal from a kid’s breakfast. When I roll my eyes at your words because they feel so far from the truth, please don’t take it as a sign to stop. I sure don’t feel pretty, or even presentable, but I need you to know that your words are the only thing I have heard all day that made me feel like a woman, and not just a mom.
Keep holding me a few seconds longer after I let go of your hug. I have so much to do that I forget how good it feels to pause. But, your hug is life-giving. It is the first time someone has focused their attention on me today. I need it.
Life will slow down at some point. The kids will become more and more independent. My biggest fear is, that — somewhere in the middle, we could stop being us. Keep reminding me that we are more than parents. We are partners. We are best friends. Let’s keep choosing each other through it all. Keep reminding me so that I don’t forget how much we have to lose. Keep reminding me so that we don’t wake up one and realize we don’t know each other. I started this journey with you, and I want nothing more than to keep going with you. I want to enjoy you until we are old and grey. We belong to each other, and we still have a lot of years to give.