Thursday, December 18, 2008

He'll be back in 5 days....

I was recently reminded of a concept that is very important to Chris and I. Our marriage comes before our children. We both believe it is important that we model affection and love for our children. We want them to grow up knowing what a healthy marriage looks like so that they are are more likely to have one themselves. Part of modeling that for our children, is to make time for each other, to spend time talking and truly enjoy each others company. We never wanted to stop "dating". Despite being married, our courtship doesn't end. We need to make time for each other, time without children so that we can talk and laugh without worrying about being interrupted or summoned to another room because a child is screaming in their bed.

Here's the problem with that. How do you find time to be alone when you have two children two and under, and you live 1400 miles away from most of your family? You rely on your "new family" -- your church. If you know me at all, you know that I hate asking for favors, and I've had to do it all too often in my life. So if I can avoid it, I do. And I continue to avoid it until I feel like I'm at a breaking point and have no other choice. I'm not saying that this is a good trait -- it just is the way I am. And unfortunately, I have had to face this situation way too many times recently. Add that to the fact that I know exactly what my kids are like every single day -- I would rather not inflict that on an unsuspecting friend. So I have been extremely hesitant to ask someone to watch the kids in order for Chris and I to go out together. Because of these traits, until last week Chris and I had gone out twice alone since I was about 7 months pregnant with Alex. A reminder, he's 13 1/2 months old now.

When I was 7 1/2 months pregnant, Chris and I went to dinner and a movie while the Macon's watched Kairi. They were always very good about volunteering to care for her, despite the fact that she probably screamed the entire time. She was a fussy baby. Any change in her routine bothered her. And nights were the worst. So I was very grateful for the breaks. Especially being that pregnant. One night after Alex was born, my grandmother stayed home with Kairi while the two three of us went to a movie. Alex slept through the movie, but he did come with us. Chris then deployed. He came back in June.

Fast forward to October 2-- a year after our last date, Jenny stayed at home with the kids while Chris and I went to dinner and a book store. It was a good night. And we really enjoyed it. But it didn't take any stress off our relationship. Two months later I can recognize that we really didn't know how to talk to each other any more. It was as stressfull as a first date! I know that I was as jittery as I was on our "first date".

Last week we had no choice, we HAD to have a babysitter for 4 days in a row. One of those days we didn't spend alone as we had Alex, but the other 3 days we had plenty of time together. The first night we didn't do a ton of talking, but by the second and third nights things were great.

I have thoroughly enjoyed talking and spending time with my friend again. It's not that he was ever NOT my friend. But when the world revolves around your children, it's hard to not allow your marriage, your friendship, to fall through the cracks. Even when you plan for it to not, you have to make a conscious decision to talk, to spend time together, to get away. Chris and I are going to be doing this more least once a month.

Yesterday I dropped him off at the airport to fly out to see his parents. I'm fairly accustomed to him being gone for anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks at a time. But this time it's different. Maybe it's because I know he's in a spot where he can communicate with me. More likely, it's because we enjoyed our time together so very much. I just wasn't ready to give it up quite this soon! I'm anxious for him to be back home. I miss him. He'll be home Monday, and I can't wait!

Tuesday night, before he left, he gave me my anniversary/Christmas present because he was afraid that it was too big and I would need it adjusted. It's not so I don't. Here's what he gave me. (And before you see it, know that he got it on an AMAZING sale, and used a Sears gift card that Heroes at Home gave us to buy it.)

Pictures enlarge when you click them.

It's a sterling silver 1 ct diamond bracelet! Didn't he do well!?!

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