“I’m sorry,” my husband said as he left for work . . . followed by, “I love you,” and walked out the door, leaving me to ponder on the apology.
That night I turned to him and said, “When we look back at this time, I am going to feel so proud of us.” We then promptly fell asleep.
The weekend after that I had an emotional breakdown in the car while the boys were snoozing happily in their car seats. This time I said, “I’m sorry.”
Each time we have said, “I’m sorry,” to one another, it is not because of one specific incident, or because we’ve annoyed each other, or because he’s left his dirty pants next to the laundry basket AGAIN. We are apologizing for our choices. A choice we have both made subconsciously, but one that has become so apparent in our daily lives that it needed to be acknowledged.
The choice to prioritize our children.
Prioritizing your kids isn’t something to apologize for, but de-prioritizing your relationship tends to be a consequence of that decision.
I love my husband. He is the love of my life. And yet . . .
Our two little sons have brought on this new kind of insane love that requires almost all we’ve got to give.
When we only had one baby, there was enough time and space to hang out with each other. We could still go out for dinner and drinks while our baby snoozed in his stroller. We could still have uninterrupted conversations and have our friends round for game night. So even though we prioritized our son, we were still given moments to be together.
Now there are two of them! A lot of people have three! Or more! What?!
All our time, energy, and love go into parenting and when we are given very brief moments to be just the two of us, we want to be quiet.
We need to be quiet.
We give each other the OK to be quiet.
Our moments of connecting seem to happen in the car on long journeys—hence the emotional breakdown. The boys fall asleep if we time it right, we have no chores to do and we chat. It always feels so good. Sometimes we get so into our chats we forget about the snoozers in the back. It sounds corny, but I treasure our car chats.
We used to have romantic moments all the time. Our irresponsible lives were full of romance. We’d write love notes, plan surprise trips away, and give spontaneous thoughtful gifts.
And now . . . well, I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, and he said he wanted a nose trimmer, so I got him a nose trimmer. We haven’t got the brain space to think about each other all too much, so gone are the days of trips to Paris. We are in the nose trimmer era of our relationship.
After blubbering, “I’m sorry,” in the car on our long journey home, he said all the things he needed to say to settle my heart. He has a way of doing that. I know we are on the same team and we are in this life together, but sometimes I just need to hear it.
He told me that we are consumed in the parenting years right now.
Drowning in it. Hunkering down. The both of us. So, at the end of the day, when he has a moment of calm, all he wants to do is sit quietly next to me and watch a good TV series. He needs nothing more from me. Just me (and Brian Cox—the one from Succession, not the scientist).
It was so good to hear. I knew those things. He shows me those things. But like I said, sometimes I just need to hear it.
So, we shall hunker down and enjoy their little years as much as we can without feeling guilty about setting our romance aside. When they’re older and have little time for us, we will be thankful we surrounded ourselves with their little hands, tears, giggles, and cuddles while we could, and we will enjoy the time we find to be just the two of us again.
There’s no rush. Our love does not falter.
We will probably still say sorry every now and then even though we don’t have to. And sometimes I’ll still need to hear his words of reassurance as I sob during our treasured car chats. And that’s OK.