It was around this time of year thirteen years ago that I met my husband for the very first time. Neither of us can agree on that exact moment of first contact. I maintain he said hello to me within days of me starting work at the same company he helped fix computers for. He doesn’t remember seeing me that first time. Clearly I wasn’t as memorable as he now has me believe.
In the early days, we spent our Saturday nights hanging with friends, or just together. We never had much of an agenda and there wasn’t reason to worry about how late we stayed up, how much wine or beer we drank, or what tomorrow was even going to feel like under the guise of that hungover love. Saturday nights were slow dances and time never felt relevant, unless we were late for a party.
It was easy to maintain a relationship, in the early days. We didn’t need February 14th as a reason to buy each other presents (we had a lot of disposable income and never once thought about retirement), or to tell each other about our mutual love. Intimacy was spontaneous, didn’t need to be contained within certain hours of the night and without much water under the bridge, including painful memories shared, that love was innocent and uncomplicated.
As strong as love ties are, and trust me my relationship is strong, parenthood changes you. It makes you detest the person lying next to you because it’s 3am and he’s sleeping, while you are nursing, rocking and crying a newborn to sleep. Or his socks two feet from the hamper are cause again for the millionth argument about how “I do everything in this house.”
It means you suddenly have to plan “date nights,” which take a lot of effort and a lot more money than before. Suddenly they depend not on your willingness to get out there, but on the availability of someone else, a babysitter or family member. You may even feel like you have to dress your totally different-than-before body to impress the person who has seen a head come out of your vagina.
And then there is how your lives are suddenly linked in a deep and complicated way because you’ve created another being, someone who mingles your DNA. Someone who wasn’t there before you started on an adventure together. There is also the swings of emotions that only the two of you understand – what it was like that night in the hospital when your little one struggled for breath. That time when you both felt a loss so profound you couldn’t find the words. The darkness that settled at the corner of your lives postpartum. There’s something so messy about being someone else’s rock, to really feel and understand what it means to depend on someone: it’s embarrassing, sticky and yet profoundly beautiful.
How do you not silently wish the other would just make this parenting voyage easier for you both? Because in the mess of playdates, soccer camps, lunch bags, slow cooked dinners, dirty dishes to your eyeballs, a mountain of laundry taller than you both, permission slips and birthday cards … obligation and responsibility… it is hard to see that you ever looked to each other for nothing more than satisfaction. How do you ever return to those Saturday slow dances when life was so uncomplicated that the only thing holding you together was desire?
And you don’t want to. Because the strings that hold us together, in this sticky, embarrasing and complicated way, they were created from the deep experiences we have shared – and I wouldn’t change any moment of those.
Our Saturday nights may be different today: legs intwined under blankets, wine and a burning fire, and the soft sounds of sleeping children (when we get there). These are our slow dances: binge watching shows on Netflix, eating chips because you’ll still love my body tomorrow. In that interlude when Saturday melts into Sunday, before swim lessons and the whir of the vacuum, I’ve got this, the movie we are watching and the bliss of knowing that we are so complicated now and I love it.
Netflix sponsors us so that we can continue to provide you with the greatest inspiration for living your creative life. The topic for the #StreamTeam this month was “nights-in”. My family loves our movie time, when all 5 of us pick a movie (argue over what to watch) and eat snacks. But I wanted to write about my husband, my favourite movie-goer/partner in binge watching and how much our nights in, watching Netflix, matter to our sticky, complicated and beautiful relationship.
For date night ideas, read one of my last posts.
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