Monday, July 26, 2010

Searching for "Us"

Before I begin, let me add a little caveat:
  1. This is going to be one of those stream-of-consciousness, thinking out loud type of posts.
  2. I don't even know if many people are reading blogs anymore. Lately, the majority of my comments have been from some sort of Asian country - and I can't decipher the language. Not that I need a lot of comments. This blog is for me, and I love it. But, just in case I do get a reader or two, I'm going to be asking a lot of rhetorical questions.
  3. I realize that each marriage is different and individual. This post happens to be about my marriage as seen through my eyes. My husband might actually write something entirely different. Who knows?!? I just wanted to make it clear that I know that my experience is not necessarily universal.
Let's start with one of those rhetorical questions that I was just talking about: Do you ever wonder what happened to "Us"?

Greg and I had the opportunity to get away for a night. That's right - just the two of us. As you can probably imagine, dating hasn't exactly been high on the priority list for the past year and half. (Ironically, "showering" hasn't exactly been high on the priority list either. Perhaps the two are related. Hmmm...) Greg and I are just emerging from the misty darkness of "Surviving". There are still days that I retreat back into that mode. But, for the most part, we are beginning to "Live" again instead of just "Survive."

We had just gone to dinner - an actual Adult Dinner where the food is brought to you by a waitress on actual plates as opposed to something wrapped in yellow tissue paper. We went for a canoe ride on a little pond and then we took a stroll down this quaint little path in Midway. We were laughing, smiling, reminiscing, and talking about 101 different subjects. After a quiet spell, I looked at him and said, "Remember 'Us'?" He smiled and said, "Yes. I do." We walked in silence for a couple of steps, and I said, "What happened to 'Us'?" He sighed and said, "I don't know...'Us' never yelled. 'Us' never swore at the dinner table. 'Us' was never to exhausted to hear about every detail of the day...I liked 'Us'."

For Greg and I, those first few years of marriage was just like playing house. It was as if we both walked around on cheerful clouds and slid around on rainbows. We relished our time together. We worked opposite schedules, and I was still finishing up college. I would drive through Fruit Heights and buy daily produce from the little vegetable stands and make dinner. He worked nights. I can remember several evenings that I waited up for him with some sort of surprise. One time, I put my wedding dress on and played our wedding song so I was ready for a dance when he walked in the door. He wrote me silly little poems on homemade cards when I was stressed over an exam. We created scavenger hunts for birthdays around our 900 square-foot condo.

Cheesy...Corny...But oh so blissfully ignorant and happy.

Then, in both the long eight years and incredibly fast eight years that followed, we managed to have five children. Don't get me wrong - I love them; I adore them; They give my life purpose and joy and help me to struggle and learn and grow. Whenever Greg and I do get away for a few minutes, we spend most of that time talking about those 5 monkeys. We laugh about how funny they are, and we talk about how we can improve as parents, and we analyze a problem with one (or more) of them and brainstorm ways that we can help.

It really is a lovely way to live.

However, somehow "Us" gets a little lost in the madness. "Us" pops in occasionally. Is this a common problem? Is this just our phase of life? What do you do to keep "Us" around?

Whatever the answer, "Us" enjoyed a good 24 hours together this past weekend celebrating the past 11 years. And you know what...I find that I have been more patient, more kind, more loving, and definitely more grateful these past few days. In fact, I have not even raised my voice - not once. I have cuddled my babies more. I have smiled at spilled milk (with Paigie Pie around, it happens A LOT - trust me). I have noticed the good in my children, and I expressed my pride and gratitude to my older ones. "Us" makes me a better person.

Ahhhh...I love "Us."


Marianne said...

I read your blog. Although I don't comment much. You have a way to eloquently say what I am usually thinking. I love reading what you are up to. Keep it up.

Mommy O'Mara said...

I read, too! Mostly in fits and spurts and without a lot of time to comment, but I do. Well into my eleventh year of marriage, I’m beginning to recognize how easy it is to push my relationship with my husband to the bottom of the list of things to attend to. And as I write that, I feel a lump in my throat and tears coming. Of all my relationships and all my commitments, this one bends most readily. Why? My other responsibilities scream at me (in the case of the kids and a few coworkers, I mean that literally.) I think we’ve become good at cutting each other slack, being very forgiving. That’s a good thing! But not if it comes at the expense of neglecting each other. Every once in a while, something else needs to give way for “us.”

Liz said...

I love your blog.

I also think it's very exciting that you get comments from an unknown Asian country.

I loved this post. Glad to got to go on a fun date!

Sarah said...

I think "us" isn't, and shouldn't be, stagnant. Sounds like your "us" is growing very healthily.

I like this post.

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Jackie said...

LOL...I am only laughing at the above asian post. I have had a few of those as well...and also some sort of advertisement post that I tried to delete but it kept coming back- like 17 times.

Anyway...I loved your post and totally agree with everything you said. Although, Spence and I never did any of those things you called "cheesy and corny." I wish we would have though!

So glad you got to get away without the kiddos- you totally deserve it!

怡徐元怡徐元 said...
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Liz said...

We've only been married six years and have three kids, but we're big on "us" time. We go to bed really late, because we want to have time to talk, and don't get that when the kids are awake. (they don't sleep until 9ish) We also go on dates fairly regularly even if it's just the dollar movies. Making the time for us has been really important for my personal happiness and sanity.

The Crazy Newman Clan said...

Ah, I love your 'us' post. I want an 'us'. We skipped that phase. You are doing a remarkable job staying in love with your hubs with five crazies around. Loves to you. your b-i-l is in my prayers tonight, same w/your sis.

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Meredith said...

Took the words right out of my mouth and the tears right out of my eyes.

It makes me so sad to see the person I've turned into. It worries me because I don't want my husband to hate me for this new person.

I want "Us" back. I want "Me" back, too.