Keeping up with the math that would mean we had three children in a year and a half, within our first two years of marriage. And our therapist’s number moved to speed-dial.
By the time our identical daughters hit age two, the first parent in our twin play group separated. Another combusted by our son’s first day of preschool. Surely we were on the fast track for the same with our triple kid-load?
My husband and I talked about this frequently.
On good days I’d joke to him that I missed my boyfriend – the guy who I dated for a few years before the day I got married and pregnant all at once. The guy who drank red wine with me and talked about indie films and hip-hop music and coo-coo politicians. Because that guy still lived in my house, he was just so overwhelmed with all the crying he sometimes couldn’t hear mine.
We were counseled to not over-think the fact that we didn’t eat together, vacation together or have mommy-daddy time more than bi-monthly. Rather, we were told to parent all the babies the way we enjoyed most, and get back to us later when there was more time.
This was risky advice. But there was no time to seek an alternative plan – or an alternative person outside of our marriage so the long term holding pattern worked fine. This summer our twins turn 6 years old and my singlet is 7 and we are still married. To a parent of multiples – or Irish-triplets as I call mine – age six is when you climb out of the hole you’ve been buried since conception.
As I step back into my relationship I am realizing we have become different people. The things I loved most about my man when we fell in love are not only a distant memory but seemingly ridiculous. “He’s such a great dancer! He’s always ready to buy the first round of drinks! He has mad pull in Vegas!”
My bridesmaids should be fired for letting that wedding happen at all.
Or maybe not. Because as I have a little more time for us, I have been following the therapists new advice and setting dates for us. Dinner dates mostly and mostly with other parents. Those who also don’t disco dance anymore. And as I listen to them go on about soccer, homework, pediatricians, splinters, and their own failing body parts, I sometimes look across the dinner table and think – holy crap, my husband is hot.
In fact, I think, if my husband wasn’t my husband I would leave this overpriced and underwhelming dinner and take him to the back of my minivan right now.
But he is my husband. Who I have shared diaper duty, lunch duty, drop off and pick up with for so many years now I can’t pick him up. But I have to. How am I ever gonna get that brotherly feeling out of my head and the one of him being a hot guy who’s mine for the taking back into my loins where not-so-true love grows?
So we are back at therapy.
Soothing Voice has lots of good ideas for us, some of them even quite racy. Racy for a woman with multiple post-graduate degrees. Not so much for a mother who used to require a suite in Vegas. Instead, what really fills me in on how to resuscitate my highly functioning marriage is my divorced friend.
Divorced Friend is high out of her head on my favorite drug. The love drug. That euphoria that overtakes you when you are making out with someone you barely know but have filled in their story with your favorite version of who they might be.
I’m watching my friend lie to my face when she cancels our parents-night-out because she is saying her son is sick. Divorced is high on love drugs so I can’t address this untruth nor stop her from meeting this man in the back of some minivan somewhere but I sure can try to emulate it.
I cancel dinner, too, by giving the other parents the same line my friend gave me. And instead I book a hotel around the corner from my husband’s office.
It costs the exact same amount as one therapy session. And if I make a standing check-in here for the same time every week – maybe instead of therapy – it would actually cost a little bit less.