I don’t like Halloween. Every year though, I sew until my fingers bleed and I plan coordinating family costumes. I don’t like gravy. I don’t like it so much that I forgot to register for a gravy bowl when I was registering for my wedding china. I make it though, every chance I get. From scratch. Why? Because my husband loves to smother his perfectly wonderful plate of food with turkey drippings (bleh) and he loves everything to do with Halloween. Marriage is weird like that. Love truly does make you do crazy things.
Way back when there was a version of me with free time and grand gestures. When my spouse got my full attention and we did things like have hours’ long conversations. I know there are partners that have escaped this trap, that have somehow managed to keep their relationship at the forefront of their lives. Either that or you’re faking it on Instagram, which, I’ll be honest; I kind of hope you are.
There are a million reasons why I love my husband: He makes me laugh. He is the calm to my anxious. He’s the asleep in thirty seconds while I lay awake worried about whether or not I bought the right-sized shoes for my growing son. He’s a fixer. He tells me the same story a thousand times and still expects that it’s the best thing he’s ever said. He’s the introvert to my sort-of extrovert. He’s a go with the flow, up for anything, change direction at a moment’s notice expert level pivot-er to my routine-loving Type-A personality. He holds my hand the same way every time we walk across a parking lot. He brings me ice cream in bed. He picks where we are going to eat; knowing I do ACTUALLY care where we go. He loves me, and I love him.
Despite my best intentions; one of those, ‘I’ll never do xyz when I have kids,’ our relationship isn’t my number one priority right now. I’m a child of divorce, I swore to always keep my marriage first. I promised myself that I would never take my relationship for granted. I truly do believe that the happiness of my children, myself, and my family as a whole is a direct reflection of the health of that relationship. I’m there. I get it. I know every piece of advice out there; the should’s, the do’s, the dates, the priorities, but; I. Just. Cannot. I wish I could do it all. Don’t we all?
I’ll be honest, I’m sick of feeling like a failure when it comes to my marriage. Do you know what that well-meaning family member didn’t have to deal with while raising their kids and going out on a date every Friday night? A pandemic. Social Media. Parenting in a fishbowl. She probably got to wear a MuuMuu Kaftan billowy number on those dates instead of skin-tight jeggings, too.
So, here I am, I’m a married woman in love with her husband. I’m also a touched-out, going on five years, breastfeeding mom. I’m a full-time cook and snack coordinator. I’m a lover of books. I’m a friend that sometimes goes weeks without texting back. I’m post-partum. I’m the keeper of the keys and grounds of the Child’s Castle. I’m a writer. A daughter. I’m a ‘didn’t go anywhere so I can wear the same outfit two days in a row person. Coordinator of schedules. I’m a wife. I’m not perfect and I don’t expect to be. I’m a wisher, a wish I wouldn’t fall asleep every night before 9 pm and could have a great conversation with my person. And, you know what? That is ok. That same relative that has all those opinions has also told you that your kids won’t be little forever. I won’t be this way forever. In two years I hopefully won’t have any more kids in diapers. In four years all three of my kids will be in full-time school. I wish we could normalize this feeling that you and your spouse are ok to just survive and maybe not thrive during this stage of life. Isn’t that part of marriage, knowing that the other person is just as committed to you as you are to them and that, maybe, not “working” on your marriage like it’s just another thing on your plate isn’t the end of the world. I don’t think I’m winning the wife award right now. Honestly, I don’t feel like I’m winning at anything right now. I’m here though, I’m committed to my marriage just as much, if not more, as I was on the day I said, “I do.” So I make the gravy and I sew the costumes and I decorate my house in gaudy orange and black for the month of October because I’m still here, behind all of the hats I wear, loving him and knowing that, someday, it will just be us again.