“See you Saturday morning,” my husband says to me Sunday evening, in a joking way, as we get ready to sleep.
But it’s not really a joke. Between four kids, two full-time jobs, ballet, baseball, gymnastics, homework, lunches, dinners, spelling words, laundry, and errands, we barely see each other or have time for a meaningful conversation during the weekdays, beyond who is picking up which kid when and other logistic-type communications.
Even in the evening, by the time we are done with pick-ups, dinner, bath, books, and bed, there are still dishes to do, lunches to make, uniforms to find, things to clean up. By then it’s 9:00 or 9:30, we’re both exhausted, and quiet downtime — usually alone — is what we both need. He reads, I play a dumb game on my phone or catch up with texts. We rarely watch TV, despite all the good shows we keep hearing about, and we’re both too tired to have a meaningful conversation beyond exchanging a few words over the clues for The New York Times crossword puzzle, which I love to do.
We’re barely asleep before our littlest, twin nuggets, patter down the hall and climb in bed with us, or our middle child crawls into the sleeping bag on the floor next to our bed. I know our children’s fears of the dark, of a fire breaking out, or the dolls coming to life are real and terrifying to them, and I don’t have the heart or the energy to drag them back to their beds. So any nighttime cuddles or pillow talk doesn’t happen either.
Sometimes we sneak a few moments in. A hug in the kitchen. A more in-depth conversation late at night when one child is having a particularly hard time. A lunch date. But most days, we’re just trying to make it to the weekend. On the weekends we have more time to sleep, to steal a few moments being us while we fold laundry together, to sneak in a dinner date. Once I bumped into a friend on a Saturday morning at Starbucks who had just had a running and coffee date with her husband, which I thought was brilliant. It is mostly the weekends when we can snatch some time to see each other, joke around, and talk.
Prioritize each other, I’m sure you’re thinking. But we all know real life doesn’t work like that. As much as the desire may be there, the reality is the time or the energy simply isn’t. We are in the season of young children, and we’ve made it 15 years, and we will make it through. But right now is not the era of long walks on the beach together and three-hour dinners over a bottle of wine. Now is the era of sleeping whenever possible, giving our children all that they need, and making sure we get our jobs, which we love, done as best we can. Now is the time to hold onto our love and just make it through the day.
Dear husband, I miss you. See you Saturday.