Monday, October 24, 2011

MONDAY

It’s Monday. Bleh! I would love nothing more than to spend every day with my children. I miss them most mornings before I ever leave the house. Especially Reef’s enormous gummy grins. Gah! It pulls at my heart strings, passing him over in the mornings while he looks on as if to say, “ready to play, mommy?” I am so ready to come home in the afternoons and just scoop them up and soak them in, before bed time steals them away from me again.

But there is a lot to be said for the career side of my life too. I get to work with a lot of great people. I think that even if I was able to stay home full time with my children, the urge to work in some capacity (writing, volunteering, event planning, etc) would be alive and well in me. I don’t think it makes me any less of a mother because I have a strong desire to work. I feel really grateful that in such tough economic times, I have a job that can help support our family financially.

On the other side of that equation is Pete -- and let’s be honest here -- there is no way (none. zero.) that I could pull this working mom juggling act off with any success without his unwavering support. (I say it all the time - but how do single parents do it? How did I do it? Seriously, God must’ve given me super-human abilities back then.) Pete is my support system, and sometimes the backbone of our family. Even as we have become happy and comfortable in our roles, there are times when we have to tag team around the kids’ activities and/or the baby’s needs. It’s a balancing act and we try very hard to take each other’s needs into account. No. Wait. Honestly, he always takes my needs into account. He cannot spell to save his life (i.e. just today, he IM’d me with “time flys”), or use the proper tense, and it’s both gargantuanly maddening and adorable at the same time. But nevertheless, he ensures there are ample date nights at the end of every busy week -- an opportunity to deflate from the hoop-lah invading the days prior.

Date night used to be trying on different outfits, straightening my hair, it also involved three rounds of drinks, and two to four different stops to meet up with friends. Most of the time it was hours past midnight by the time we made it home.

Date night has changed since we became the parents of a newborn.

There is no leisurely getting ready time these days. First outfit “works well enough.” A swipe of eyeliner, a dab of lipgloss, and out the door we go. With all the excitement of a night out, we never decide where we want to eat until we’re at the doorstep of some chic establishment. After a couple glasses of wine, a full belly, and relatively deep conversations, we’re still home by 9:15. Before 10:00 indeed. I know! Shock-ing!

The house is dark and quiet. I’ll curl up on a corner of the couch and I think to myself that this would be about the time we would just be getting started before we had a baby. I marvel at how efficiently we’ve managed to squeeze a night’s worth of fun into two to three hours. As different as our nights out are from the days when we used to stay out late, I feel just as satisfied. The process has changed but the key elements are exactly the same -- his hand holding tight to my leg in the car ride over, a bounce in our step as we seek out an undetermined adventure, laughing together under the street lights.

And when Reef wakes at 3:15am, I can almost hear the ghosts of Pete and Mandi past, rattling their keys in the door, kicking shoes off sore feet and feeling utterly exhausted from a night out on the town. I was happy to have been them at one point in my life, but looking down at that adorably sleepy boy in my arms I know I wouldn’t trade places again for all the date nights in the world.

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