We’re on the verge of being the only people living in this house. Just us. While it’s exciting, it’s also… awkward.
Yes, we’ve been married for 19 years, but we’ve been parents all 19 of those years. We haven’t been a couple as much as we’ve been mom and dad.
As we gear up for life without the daily presence of our bundles of joy, we’ve got to figure out who we are as individuals now, and remember why we fell for each other back then.
I know the guy I fell in love with so many years ago is still there. I see him in Kevin’s smile and hear him in Kevin’s laugh. That laugh sparked my interest. I heard him from across the newsroom before I knew who he was and I wanted in on the joke.
He’s his own person and does not care what others think. At all. Seriously. He used to wear a bulky, burgundy-colored sweater under a gold and burgundy plaid button-down shirt. (I still don’t get that look. It obviously makes more sense to wear the button-down under the sweater!) Then there were his favorite jeans. They were the same size/width from the waist all the way down to the hem, and he paired them with snakeskin cowboy boots. Y’all! I was not a fan of either look, but they were his favorites. What you think of him is none of his business and he won’t hesitate to tell you exactly that. Who can resist a man this comfortable in his own skin? (And who better to help our girls understand that the weight of society’s expectations and judgments has nothing to do with them?)
He has an engaging personality and people are drawn to him. Our girls love to tell the story of how we were vacationing at our favorite beach in Florida and swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. A stranger swam up to them and said, “Kevin’s your dad, right? With the Kansas Jayhawks tent?” Put him in a room full of strangers for 10 minutes and by minute 3, everyone will know his name and his love for Kansas basketball. Rock Chalk.
In the daily joys/challenges of raising kids, I’ve lost touch with the guy who would travel to another state to visit me every two weeks, without fail, when we were “just” friends. (According to him, we were officially dating.) The guy who would listen to my father tell the same story over and over – and listen intently as if it was the first time he was hearing it. The guy who patiently taught me to float in a hotel pool during the second trip we took together because he realized during our first trip together that I didn’t know how to swim.
We’re coming full circle. Two to four and, soon, back to two. Maybe reconnecting when both kids are out of the house isn’t so much remembering the past as it is seeing who my husband still is – a great guy.
Tell us in the comments below how you stay connected with your partner.