That seems a long time ago now.
These days, it seems that there are ten more things on the to-do list at the end of the day than there were at the beginning. These days, I catch myself laughing as I start a thought, inevitably, with the phrase, “I never thought I’d be…” These days, life is a whole different enterprise than it was back then.
I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
But there has been quite a bit of adjustment with this new way of life. Being married is one set of demands. Having a house is another. Having a job is yet another. And kids…well, the kids are their very own world.
In our married life, Prince Charming and I have gone through the same phases as most of the other couples I know. We courted – for years and years and years. Then we were married. Then after kissing in the tree, there was a baby carriage.
Throughout these changes, we have needed to reconnect. I used to roll my eyes at the thought of “date nights.” (I used to roll my eyes at a lot of things. That’s not necessarily indicative of anything other than a large ego and a big problem with pride.) Now, I schedule them with the militancy of someone who knows a good thing when she sees it in black and white.
But the best thing we do to stay connected was started with an offhand gift one of the grandmas gave my oldest daughter. In fact, we borrowed them – permanently – and started what has become my favorite bathroom tradition – the “talking” we do through our written words.
In the days of our courting and even before our first daughter was very old, I used to write Prince Charming a daily note. It started as a love note, back in the days at the big green dealership where we met and worked. And as things became more day-to-day, but before we were married, I stopped writing those notes. I thought I had already said “I love you” in enough creative ways and that enough was enough. He asked me, though, about the note for that day. Shocked, I said, “You like them?” He smiled. (He’s a man of few words.) So, even if it was just to recount my to-do list for the coming day, I began writing him a morning note. Once I found a drawer of about three years’ worth of these notes that he had saved.
The morning notes helped Bob know what was going on in my world. It kept him connected to the whirlwind of activity that seems to surround me as wife, mother, keeper of the house, payer of the bills, manager of the calendar.
Later, the notes on the shower wall gave me an insight into his world, which I needed. I had no idea, for example, that he was ashamed of our old farmhouse, that he felt he wasn’t providing a good enough home for his family, that he needed support and encouragement from me so that he would know how thankful I was (and am!) for his hard work.
The bath crayons gave way to a white board, once we finished our new bathroom and stopped sharing a shower. (“It’s the first time in my life I’ve had my own room, even if it is an old bathroom,” he said when I asked why he didn’t want to share the bigger, better shower in the bigger, better bathroom.) We were able, on the white board, to leave each other longer notes. Miss Muffet, the enterprising artist, was also able to participate and Daddy started leaving picture notes for her as well. The white board also had a handy calendar section, which I filled out and that helped him to know what was coming up.
And then, the flu struck. In a frenzy of what is best left to your imagination, the white board in the bathroom had to be thrown away. Our current strategy involves a calendar where I jot down various commitments and plans and a notebook. Though his mornings have been a bit different of late and he hasn’t had time to write me back, and though my sleep schedule is up in the air lately and I’m leaving less notes, it’s a system we will keep refining.
When I’m connected to my other half, I’m connected to my sanity in a way I find I need. The blogging world of moms and Catholics and intellectual stimulation is a good thing, but it doesn’t replace the connection I have with my husband. The friends I call and talk with, vent to, and visit with don’t replace the man whose in the bed next to me, and their support doesn’t equal the support I get from him – nor should it.
In marriage, we made a choice. Come what may, for better or worse. But we were also friends then (which, for the record, we still are – better than ever!). We find that by writing each other daily (or as often as we can), in the midst of the everyday, that we insert some of the fun of the early days into the mundane flurry of the current days. “Have you read today’s note?” he might ask me, and I will tarry only as long as it takes to stand up and scurry off to the bathroom to read it. And there I might find a treasure, an insight, and always the reminder that the guy I love loves me back.