Today, Josh and I had lunch alone together. That might not seem like such a huge thing to a lot of people, but you guys, let me just tell you: it is for us.
Years ago, when I was still in school and we were both still working at the Y, when we had only one child and life was a little slower and a lot less stressful, Josh and I used to meet for lunch several times a week. Sometimes we would pack our lunches and eat together at work, sometimes we would go out, and sometimes we'd pick something up and bring it back. Sometimes it was just the two of us, and sometimes friends and coworkers joined us. Some days we had an hour together and sometimes it was a quick 20 minutes, but the point is, we had that opportunity to connect, and we did it often. We were able to take time out of our day and just be together.
Since that time, I've gotten my degree and moved on to working elsewhere and then to staying home with the kids, he got a new job and has changed shifts and schedules more times than I'd like to count, we've added 3 more children to our family, and life has gotten SO busy. Our lunch dates fell away, and sometimes we even struggle to find time to connect with each other on a daily basis. So often, I feel like we are just ships, passing in the night. Our calendar is full, and most days, our conversation revolves round our schedule: which child needs to be where at what time, and which parent is going to get them there? Whose turn is it to watch which child's sporting event this week? How will everything else fit in between our work schedules? And the free time we have? We usually try to spend it with our kids, connecting as a family. It can all be so complicated, and it often leaves little time for us to have time to ourselves.
And even when we might get time alone, it sometimes still feels hard to connect. It's hard to turn off my brain, to not think about the 645 million things that I need to remember, and just spend a little time focusing on us. Remembering the things we love about each other, how much fun we can have together, how much we make each other laugh, and how nice it is to just sit quietly next to each other, enjoying each other's company (and not falling asleep on the couch).
But TODAY. Since Columbus Day is a state and federal holiday, Josh happened to have the day off. The kids still had school, all four of them. And Monday is the only day I don't baby-sit. So, after Number Four had lunch and went off to preschool, but before the crazy afternoon & evening schedule started, we had 2 hours together. Two hours during which we could hang out and we did not have to focus on anyone else. There were no tears because our kids were getting left with a sitter, no guilt over taking time away from them to spend by ourselves, no anxiety attacks about someone having to be separated from Mommy. So we went to lunch, just like we used to. And then we went to pick up a few things from the grocery store, something else we haven't done together in I-don't-know-how-long.
To some of you, this might seem like a trivial thing; something silly to be grateful for. But you know what? Today, it made all the difference. Monday afternoons are rough around here. But,, when it came time for the evening rush- leave the house at 2, pick up the girls at 2:30, Number Four at 3:00, my oldest at 3:10, get my oldest & his teammates to cross country practice at 3:45, give the younger 3 snacks, get homework done, get E to soccer practice at 6, get home and make dinner, feed everyone, and get them to bed- all while Josh is working his second job- it didn't feel so overwhelming. I had infintely more patience with everyone, and a lot less stress.
You guys, we have partners for a reason. We choose them for a reason. I'm pretty strong, and I'm used to doing things on my own when I need to (which, to be honest, is pretty often). I'm the keeper of all things for my family, the one who has it together (because if I don't our s*** will be ALL over the place), but I need support, sometimes, too. It can be so easy, in the hustle of every day life, to lose each other, to fail to put time aside to connect with our partners and enjoy each other's company, and let each other's love buoy us, and when we let that get lost, our lives are so much harder.
I don't say it often enough, but today I was reminded of just how thankful I am that I have this man to support me in our life together. My hope is that days like today come more frequently. That, as our kids get older, and even as their schedules get crazier, we can continue to find moments together like we did so many years ago.