Monday, August 11, 2008

The Comfort of Couplehood

Sometimes, when you are a couple, you set aside a Saturday night and make reservations, and hire a babysitter, and put on your nice clothes and your grown-up shoes, and get the car cleaned and you go out on a date to a restaurant where it is quiet enough to have a civilized conversation and the words kids menu don't exist.

Sometimes, when you are a couple, you call each other on the way home and make plans to meet somewhere for dinner, and more often than not it's a more kid-friendly place, or a chain family restaurant, where likeminded families will also congregate and your kid can be a kid. You finally get home and remember that you have a load in the dryer that needs to be folded and you notice that the kitchen floor could use a Swiffering. You send the kids up to bathe and get ready for bed, and you notice that your partner has already gone to the basement and hauled the clean clothes upstairs, and you chat quietly while he Swiffers and you fold.

Sometimes, when you are a couple, and you are expecting a baby, you spend your third trimester nights together, a half-eaten pizza on the living room floor. You change into your pajamas immediately upon coming home from work, and you get comfortable on the couch, sharing a blanket and shifting into each other's sides, the flicker of the teevee in the dark room reflecting on your partner's face as you watch the latest installment of the DVD series you are working your way through together, probably The West Wing or Band of Brothers. You give him the extra pillow, he places his hand over your distended abdomen, both of you feeling the baby kick.

Sometimes, when you are a couple, your husband brings you red roses in the middle of the winter, because he knows you like fresh flowers on the table, and he knows the surprise will make you smile.

Sometimes, when you are a couple, you let him play Rock Band louder than you ever thought possible, because you know it's how he gets his stress relief, and you know it was a difficult day at work for him.

Sometimes, when you are a couple, you fall asleep in each others' arms and wake up with the kids in the middle of the bed, and all you can do is rub each others' feet and say "good morning" in the language that is your own.

Sometimes, when you are a couple, and you hear another couple is parting, you cuddle each other extra hard, and kiss each other goodnight a few extra times, because though you share the pain of the separation and sympathize with the ones doing the breaking up, you are grateful that it isn't you.

Sometimes, when you are a couple, you don't know whether you'll last another 48 hours or 48 days or 48 years, but you make damned sure you give it your best shot, because the other person is more important than anyone or anything else in life.

And at the end of each day, when you are a couple, you give and take, and talk and listen, and decide and disagree, and punish and forgive. But mostly what you do is decide to be together, and to sacrifice for each other, and lift each other up, every day, embracing love like a soft comforter wrapped around you both on a cold winters' night and knowing that there is nowhere else you'd rather be.

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