Weekends with children.

Before we had children, my husband and I spent our weekends sleeping in and eating brunch at restaurants.  With both of us working, there was money for things like Eggs Benedict and the weekends had time for dawdling back then.

Without a house to maintain or children to raise there were afternoons  spent in personal pursuits and free evenings to spend with friends.  Even shopping at the grocery store together felt more like dating and playing house, than a necessary task to complete.

After we bought our house, and there wasn’t any money for eating out and our Saturdays were spent fixing things, I still remember the lighthearted feeling the weekends held, as we laid in a big bed on sheets that hadn’t been heated up by a small third body or drooled on.  We talked lightly about things back then, even our dreams for an uncertain future were discussed without any real urgency or pressure.

Our weekends now have a completely different feel to them.

We wake up feeling behind, even before our eyes are completely opened.  There are children to drive to basketball games or swim clinics or birthday parties.  There are chores and children to cajole and coerce into doing those chores.  There are arguments to mediate as we attempt to deal with hysterical daughters who imagine slights and taunts in every syllable and stubborn sons who think because they are twelve they are now adults and above such things as “clean sheets.”

With dozen of things to squeeze into a single day, my husband and I coordinate our schedules with a military precision that would make West Point proud.

The weekends of my present are nothing like the weekends of my past. And yet, largely, I really don’t mind.  True, there is the occasional pang as we pass a Denny’s parking lot and I can smell the hollandaise sauce from my car.  There’s a little twinge when I see childless couples meandering through the mall, laughing and leaning into each other.

But my pre-child weekends didn’t have a giggling six year old who climbed into our bed, poking us with stubby fingers and toes as she wriggled into the space between us.

They didn’t have the hero worship of a ten year old girl, who watches every move I make as she tries to be just like me.

Those long ago weekends didn’t have family movie nights spent watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which everyone (including the twelve year old boy who professed immense disdain in the beginning) loved.

And my husband and I were never as close back then as we are now, sitting at the kitchen table with three messy children and a glass of spilt milk between us, catching each other’s eyes and holding telepathic conversations over the heads of our offspring.

Someday there will be leisurely weekends again, spent alone, just the two of us.  It’s something to look forward to occasionally, this “some day.”

But, for now, I’m glad it isn’t some day.

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