As they say, "You don't know what you've got until it's gone." And, oh boy, is this true with restful weekends.
I couldn't help but laugh about this recently when a radio announcer asked one Friday afternoon what listeners were looking forward to doing on the weekend. "I am planning to sleep in until noon," he boasted (to my ears) about his hopes for Saturday and Sunday. All I could think was clearly he doesn't have kids.
That's because while weekends with young children are a great many things, they are not relaxing. Gone are the days of lingering in bed, having an afternoon-long Netflix marathon and then getting the energy to go out on a date together.
Now it's a different kind of marathon—starting at 6:30 a.m. when our big kid calls from his room and continues non-stop through the day. If we're lucky, we can align nap times and juggle household responsibilities with entertaining the little ones. If we're good, we can all get out of the house together on a fun adventure to a local trail or festival or play date.
I cherish these moments. I really do. Unlike the hustle and bustle of the week that often sees us running off in different directions, the family time we're able to have on the weekend is truly a gift.
At the same time, I don't think I'm wrong to admit I also miss some of the ways it was before. I don't even need to sleep in until noon. I would just like you and the chance to have a conversation at, say, 10 o'clock in the morning without it being peppered by requests for snacks.
Maybe I'm asking for the best of both worlds: I don't want to give up any of these special moments with our kids and I'm really not trying to speed past them. It's just that other than those date nights (once in a blue moon) and evenings crashed on the couch, it can feel like our connection is limited to making goofy faces across the room as one of us rushes the toddler to the potty while the other feeds the baby.
Even when we're out and having real, good family fun, there's no denying it's different than the real, good couple fun we used to have while exploring new trails or taking spontaneous road trips. And while this difference is not "bad," it is real.
I think it's fine to acknowledge this not so we can commiserate or get down on the way things are now. Rather, as all the years of our relationship have shown me, we are best at figuring things out when we're figuring them out together.
So, what if we don't plan a date that calls for full attention during a romantic meal at the end of a busy day—but instead go out to breakfast where the combination of coffee and the giddiness helps us tap into the magic of those weekends of old? (And forget about the fact we still got up before 7 am.)
Maybe this will even help us realize that as nice as it is to sleep in on occasion, there's a lot more potential for making memories when you're up before the crack of dawn.