Never fear, Momma Files fans! I didn't forget my pledge to write every week. Jason and I got back from Cancun on Monday, and it's taken me until now to get to my blog, but here I am. It was a great trip. We were gone for four days. It was for Jason's brother's wedding, and we had a blast. It rained the first couple of days, but we had fun anyway. And we spent every possible moment on the beach the next two sunny days. It was funny how undisappointed (is that a word??) we were about the rain. Yeah, I missed the beach at first, but one of the things I was looking forward to on this trip was reading and doing crossword puzzles without interruption - two great rainy day activities. Jason and I managed to entertain each other with some more couple-oriented activities during the rain as well.
It got me to thinking how my idea of vacation has changed, now that we have Jack. When we go on vacation with Jack, we usually have a good time, but we come home feeling exhausted, like we need a vacation from our vacation. All I want out of a weekend sans child is some "me" time, some couple time and some relaxation. There are things you simply don't or can't do as much with your spouse when you have a kiddo. I mean, yeah, Jack goes to bed at eight, but after that, we pretty much sit on the couch, have a glass of wine and veg out in front of the tv. We talk about doing something more constructive with that time - playing a board game or getting some chores done, but without fail, we simply don't have the energy. We might exchange a few funny or exasperating stories from the day, but we rarely talk about anything serious or even terribly interesting.
When we go on vacation by ourselves, Jason and I have the chance to rest and spend our energy on each other. We talked about Jack a lot, true, but we also discussed past vacations, told childhood stories and talked about things we want to do in the future. We laughed and cussed and told dirty jokes without worrying about who was listening. We actually finished conversations. We held hands a lot, too. I didn't even realize that we don't do that anymore. When we're with Jack, one of us is always holding his hand or carrying him. I forgot how sweet and reassuring it is to hold Jason's hand.
All this made me realize how important it is to make a point to stay connected to your spouse. It's something that may happen naturally before you have kids, but with children, it definitely takes a concerted effort. Whether it's making a point to kiss them and ask, "how was your day?" and actually listen to their response when they get home or going on a whole vacation, just the two of you, it is vitally important.
I completely see how some people finally pack their kids off to college or wherever, and then look at each other like total strangers. Your primary and ongoing twenty-four/seven task as parents is to raise your children, and it takes a ridiculous amount of time and energy. It's hard to have any left for each other. So, while having a goal to connect significantly and intimately on a daily basis may be unrealistic, I do finally understand why date nights are so important. While it might seem you're doing the best for your kids when you spend all your time and energy on them, they do need to know that Mom and Dad are people, too. I think we're actually setting a good example for Jack when we make time for ourselves and our marriage. Aside from the fact that we can be better, more patient parents when we have a chance to recharge, some day Jack is going to be an adult. And hopefully, he'll fall in love with someone he wants to commit himself to, and we will be his foremost example. I hope he can look at mine and Jason's relationship and think, "I want to have what my parents have." Even if he thinks we're crazy and rolls his eyes at us because we can't work the hologram function on our tv remote, he'll look at his parents and see love, friendship and something worth emulating.