Zach and I had lived here in Western Mass for over a year before we looked at each other and realized that we had not been out alone once since we moved here.
I know. Unbelievable, right? Over a year without a date?
But here's the thing. It happened so easily. In fact, it is almost scary how easily this happened to us, in large part because of the following:
- We were running short on fun money (the move was really expensive and left us feeling a little strapped, not to mention the craziness of daycare costs).
- Far (far far far) from any friends or family. When we moved here, we didn't know anyone. Not a single, solitary person. No old college friends lived here. No distant family. So it was incredibly isolating. Which leads me to the fact that we were...
- Trying to make new friends. Anytime we actually made the effort to try to find a baby-sitter, it was because we had been invited to a social event and we were trying to make new friends. This led to some fun nights out, but never time alone, something I think is so, so important.
- (and speaking of babysitters) It is really hard to trust a potential baby-sitter when you have no connection to them. Lack of sitters made us feel like we had few options for going out and not spending the whole night worried.
- Plus, the lonely and scary feelings associated with the move made us hunker down as a family, so we were just never without Tate. I felt like we sort of barricaded our little family up in an effort to feel centered. This was nice, in a way, but over time, became too much.
So suffice it to say, our marriage suffered. Without any true alone time together, there were a lot of moments when I felt disconnected from Zach, sort of slowly spinning in my own orbit of Western-Massachusetts-hating-misery. Added to that was the guilt I felt about the move (we moved because of my job), and I felt incredibly alone.
The last year, happily, has been so much better. But I still reflect often on how hard the first two years here were, and work hard to make a conscious effort to prioritize time alone with Zach. That time comes in strange ways now- a late-night glass of prosecco after the kids have gone to bed or 5:00 a.m. oatmeal before work. Our alone time is infrequent but I think we are doing a much better job with it more recently.
And then. The weekend before Christmas a dear friend came to visit, and she gifted us with a date-night. Stayed home watching the boys while we went out. We had a long meal. Good wine. Conversation. I learned Zach's feelings on so many things. I knew that he had thoughts about more than just who was going to pick the kids up from school, but it was amazing to get to really listen, to discuss big issues like policing in the United States, or silly things like the most recent episode of Parks and Rec. And by the end of the night, I was so completely smitten with my husband. I felt giddy. I spent the next week texting him randomly throughout the day, teen-girl texts about how much I missed him, or that I was thinking about his smile, or that I couldn't wait to see him when I got home.
It was such a powerful reminder of the importance of connection outside the hum-drum ordinariness of our days.
Z and I have already talked about how we're going to keep this momentum going. Any suggestions? Ways to make more time for each other in a busy life?