My wife and I got “started early.” That’s a nice way of saying we were pregnant before we got married but when I say that our baby was a “mistake,” I say it in the same way that stumbling upon a nice sunrise while jogging at 6:30 am is a mistake; the same way that running into an old friend at the park is a mistake. Hell, Post-it notes and Dove anti-bacterial soap were “mistakes,” too. So were some of the first schizophrenia treatments. Dick Vitale called that “Serendipity, baby,” but he was talking mostly about basketball.
We had a happy mistake and she was our flower girl at our wedding. She was one of the first to hold her baby brother, too, and she tried to get up and walk away with him (he weighed almost as much as she did, even as a baby). She lit up our poor and drab first house with bubbles of laughter and a baby-room full of pink and butterflies. They were tough times, but times I will forever miss.
Something else that I will forever miss is those first few years of marriage with my wife. We are two of the luckiest people in the world because we stumbled into love with one another and, while it was a “mistake,” it wasn’t an accident. Every difficult moment, stupid fight or make-up kiss has been part of a large plan that has moved us closer and closer together, but there are things that we will forever miss. We never got to have steady married date nights. We never got to take a nap in the afternoon and then get up to spend more time together, just doing nothing. I never got to get soaked in the rain while I held an umbrella for her; we were too busy herding the crying children under that umbrella. I never got to offer up the last triangle of grilled cheese to her while we watched Pirates of the Caribbean; the kids finished that grilled cheese while Jack Sparrow and Will Turner were having their fateful duel in the blacksmith’s shop. Then they placed an order for juice which she or I fulfilled. Every trip to the kitchen or the pantry or the bathroom or the backyard was family time, but it was moments that other couples share with each other, solidifying the power of their love and strengthening their connection. While we most certainly have a strong connection, our love for the kids became the forefront of that conduit and has been that way for 90% of our marriage. Here’s an example:
Just last night, after the kids had been in bed for a few hours and we were done watching our stories on TV we meandered to bed. We were tired and it was late but with my hand placed lovingly on the thin cotton layer that covered her body, certain feelings were kindled. I moved in, real smoothly, for a long and passionate kiss when our bedroom door creaked open. Lo and behold, another male of the species appeared! Luckily for him, he was also my progeny, so no defense mechanisms kicked in. My son, Logan, still rubbing the sleep from his eyes, crawled into our bed, giggling his nervous laugh and dragging his stuffed dog (“Jared Dog”) with him as he nuzzled between us. We all pulled off a midnight group hug with a couple little kisses hidden in there and my wife and I wrote it off to bad luck.
“Daddy,” my five-year-old son whispered to me before he drifted back to sleep, “do you remember when I stole your ice cream the other night? When we were watching Goonies?”"
“Yeah, buddy,” I said. “I think you just did it again.” My wife laughed, so Logan did, too. I’ll explain the real joke to him someday, depending on what kind of relationship we have when he’s a teenager.
Love is a different thing when there are four people involved while it’s growing. A lot of people get the marriage and the money right before the kids are thrown into the mix. We didn’t. My wife is an amazing woman with a heart full of love and a sense of duty toward the kids. She’s messy and sexy and lazy and smart and I couldn’t imagine a better partner with which to dance through this tango called Life. She’s hot and sensible and she likes Star Wars and Legend of Zelda. We eat ramen noodles with hot sauce.
I wish, sometimes, that we had more time to do all of this.
I’m going to say something now that will make a lot of people cringe. It makes me cringe to say it, but it also feels good to get off my chest. To be honest, it feels good to be a little selfish about it. I say it for me and I say it for my wife and I don’t say it lightly. To lessen the weight of it, I’m going to say it to my wife, here on this blog, because it feels easier to direct it at the one woman who will understand what I’m saying and won’t take it the wrong way. Here it goes:
Baby, sometimes I wish we didn’t have kids.
Whew! That was a doozy. To clarify, I’m going to keep going.
Baby, I wish I had rubbed your feet after a long day of work, rather than telling you I was tired, too, because I’d been chasing rugrats all day. I wish I could have spent that toy and baby-food money on a necklace for you, and a new French Horn because I want more than anything in the world to hear you blast crystal clear notes into the sky and serenade me the way an angel would. I wish we could be like our friends, who get home from work EVERY DAY to a quiet and empty house and then complain that their dogs are so much work; so much to take care of. (I’ll still never feel good about those people that refer to their dogs and cats as their children. You can’t just stick a toddler in a cage or push it into the backyard to get a few minutes of silence, and that’s just ONE of them any differences.) I wish we could just lay in bed without interruptions and go out without a babysitter. In short, I wish, sometimes, that I just had you to love.
But then, if all that were true, we wouldn’t have them…
In a time where our own government is acting up and seems like it needs a firm hand, a time when nobody’s got their money OR their marriage right, I propose that this could have gone down no other way. Sometimes Congress needs to be Interrupted to keep it in line. Sometimes love needs a test to push itself to be the best it can be.
Sometimes a giggling five-year-old can be as good as a night alone, in bed, with your wife. (But only sometimes…)