I miss my husband.
It seems silly for me to say that, because it is silly, because he’s right here next to me most of the time. In a development that has surprised at least 65 percent of the guests at our wedding all those years ago (including probably both of us), we are still very much married, with four kids, and all the chaos to show for it.
But I miss him still. It’s true, even as we move around each other through the kitchen and the bedrooms and the school concerts and the 500 grocery store trips we take per week, combined. I miss him the way you miss something you used to have and totally took for granted, like collagen or personal space or uninterrupted sleep.
We are good at what we do, tag-teaming our way through this working and parenting life like a well oiled machine on our good days, passing kids to each other like relay batons without even breaking our strides. It’s a thing of beauty, a master dance that took years to achieve and yet still is so tenuous that one string pulled could unravel it into a pile of children at our feet. Even so, I have the gall to miss him.
And I do.
I miss him.
I miss how, when we first started dating, he had this way of looking at me like I was something delicate and fragile that needed to be handled with care. It was the first time I had ever seen myself as anything other than hard edged and mostly broken.
I miss the way we could sit across a table in a dimly lit restaurant and talk for hours about everything and nothing at all, and it would feel like time had stopped and the universe had shrunk down to just us two and a candle and a bottle of cheap wine.
I miss being able to banter back and forth about how we wanted to spend the time that spread out before us, languid and easy and open – so arrogant, like it would always be that way, and we could make it into whatever we wanted.
Well, today, he looks at our children the way he used to look at me.
Today, we lie across a bed, a child or two tangled in between us, and it’s like the universe has expanded just enough to fit the whole six of us into it nice and snug.
Today, we don’t plan and plot and worry as much about the future, not because it’s not still laid out there – it is, I hope – but because what’s right in front of us right now is so miraculous that it’s hard to pull our gazes away for long enough to remember to dream.
So, yes, I miss my husband, the same way I miss my youth, or my pre-baby body, or who I was in high school. Fondly, sure. Nostalgically even. That guy I married all those years ago was incredible, no doubt.
But this one I have now is even better.
This post originally appeared on the author’s blog.