We're here now, in the crazy-wonderful stage of parenting young children...and I want you to know, I see you.
[Editor's note: This story is a letter from a woman to her husband. While this is one example of one type of relationship, we understand, appreciate and celebrate that relationships come in all forms and configurations.]
My darling, I wanted to tell you...
One day we are going to wake up, and our kiddos are going to be adults.
Can you even imagine these perfect little bodies turning into full-blown adult-size women with jobs and big responsibilities?
I mean. I want them to, of course. But still. It's a little trippy thinking about what they'll be like. What life will be like.
Our babies are going to move out and have lives of their own.
They're going to create families. Their families will become priority number one and we will move gracefully down the list.
It'll be hard to let go, I'm sure. Maybe even heartbreaking. Sometimes I stay awake at night wondering if they're going to ask if they can go to college five hours (or more!) away from us...like I did. To my parents.
But then, sometimes, I let myself think about life with you when they're grown.
We're going to have lots of uninterrupted one-on-one time together again.
We can travel. We can explore. We can go on adventures of a new kind.
We can go try that fancy new restaurant on a whim. Without finding a babysitter, or the extra cash to pay them.
Or maybe we'll even invite our grown children to join us for that nice dinner and we'll enjoy adult conversation together.
The days when we'd attempt to go out to dinner with our little ones where they'd grab the salt to pour it out, then the pepper, then the salt....will feel like another lifetime ago.
We'll wake up together, to each other. And fall asleep together, with each other.
It'll be quiet in our house—no more loud singing of The Little Mermaid soundtrack, no more fighting over toys, no more giggles when we make funny faces.
We can have all the uninterrupted conversation we want. No topic will be too deep, no good debate will take up too much of our time.
We're going to have all of this when our kids are grown.
But why wait?
Sure, life is busy now. And loud. And it takes more organization and planning and patience.
But we can't put connecting on hold. We can't put meaningful conversation on hold. We can't put touching on hold. Our love should be lived to the max every. single. day.
The reality is—no one knows when their time is up. Life is here. It's happening now. My love for you is so deep and so much a part of me. I want to celebrate that now. Every minute of now. And not push it off until our kids leave the nest.
Connecting with you can't wait until retirement, my love.
So let's do it now.
Let's not answer their every single request at the drop of a dime.
Especially when I'm trying to tell you about my new awesome idea. Or you're trying to tell me about the new book you're reading. Let's continue our conversation and ask our kiddo to wait a few minutes until Mommy and Daddy are done talking.
Let's embrace the noise together.
Yes, sometimes we wonder how these little creatures can make such LOUD noises, but more often than not, let's marvel at it. I want to memorize our three-year-old's singing voice. (I mean, no one sings Part of Your World better than her.) I want to tattoo our sixteen-month-old's giggles to my memory. I want to take mental pictures of you playing—loudly, uninhibitedly playing—with the girls and tuck them away in a safe place in my brain.
Let's go on family adventures.
They're not going to be perfect! They may, in fact, stray very, very far from the original plan. But hey—that's why they're called adventures! Let's be open-minded. Let's show our children new people and places and communities. Instill a sense of wonder and exploration in them. Doing this together as a team will be my greatest adventure with you.
Let's go on dates.
And try that new restaurant. Let's put dating each other in our budget. Maybe we only do a fancy one once in a while. Maybe getting a cup of coffee together is one of our dates. Maybe sitting together in the park on a nice day is our date. Time together doesn't have to cost a ton of money. (And don't our siblings or parents owe us some free babysitting anyway? ?)
The point is—I love you. I love you now, I'll love you when we retire and I'll love you every second in between.
But we're not retired yet. We're here—now—in the crazy-wonderful stage of parenting young children together...and I see you. I want you to know that. I see you as an incredible father. But I also see you as the person I am so deeply in love with. My sexy, smart, amazing husband.
So let's love each other now. Because I don't want to wait. And the best part? We don't have to.