Monday, February 23, 2009

Two for dinner?

I will be the first to admit that I am obsessed with my children. They pretty much occupy my every thought. I am focused (to a fault, if that's possible) on trying to make their every day as joyous as possible. I want to fill their memory banks with an abundance of happy experiences.

That being said, I know that a crucial component to a happy childhood is a strong family life. If I pour all my energy into planning art activities and interesting outings, but neglect my relationship with my husband, I'm not doing my children any favors. And the fact is, I enjoy my husband as a person. I want to be with him, not just for the sake of the kids, but because I genuinely like him.

My dear husband is a strong, tender, funny, generous, and giving man. He works so hard to provide for our family. He fully supports my staying home to be with our children. And while homeschooling was originally a little too "off the grid" for his taste, he now shares my excitement and listens to me babble endlessly about my homeschooling plans!

This past weekend, we went on our first date since having our second child 8 months ago. It was fun to just... be. Even the walk across the parking lot to the restaurant from the car was eerily simple and fast (no one stopping to pick up rocks from the pavement, no reminders about watching out for cars, no lugging a diaper bag that makes the restaurant hostess wonder if we're moving in). Then, once seated, we could linger over our meal rather than scarf it down before the inevitable small person meltdown. In fact, the family next to us had a few children sitting with them. When one of them started crying it was so nice to smile at each other and say, "Screaming child? Not our problem," and take a look at the dessert menu. (When is the last time we had time to stick around and order dessert? Or, for that matter, when was the last time we were at a restaurant that even had a dessert menu??)

But, before I had even finished devouring my chocolate decadence (and, trust me, I polished that puppy off in record time), my heart was already aching to get back to my children. I am just not the kind of mom who wants to be away from my kids. Alone time? Yes, absolutely! I do crave some "me time" every day. But I like to spend that time with the kids playing with my husband somewhere else in the house. Within earshot, preferably. I don't even like when my husband takes them out -- to a park, the store, etc. It totally ruins my "me time" because I am watching the clock and fretting about why they haven't returned yet. Yep, I'm that paranoid. I freely admit it. But, as I always retort when my husband brings up the paranoia issue: "You know, there are worse accusations. The world could stand a few more mothers obsessed with their children's well-being."

So, yes the date was fun and we should schedule more in the future. I'm definitely on board for that. My husband deserves to feel as special and as loved as our children. But, it would be fine by me if we scheduled our next date to take place on the family room couch in front of a rented movie, the kids sleeping peacefully (Ha! Our kids almost never sleep "peacefully") upstairs. Date night in! Oh, those apron strings are short, aren't they? :) Sometimes it's tough to remember that while the portion of me that is "Mama" feels astronomical, I am also a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. They are all me. The trick is allowing each one to shine.

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