The Timehop app is one of my favorites to check each day. I love being reminded of what season of life I was experiencing 1 year ago, 3 years ago, 10 years ago. Admittedly, I roll my eyes at many of my 20-something self’s posts (who was that girl?). Posts of my kids make me smile and fill me with nostalgia (oh, to kiss those chubby baby cheeks again!).
But, an unexpected reaction occurs each time I see a picture of me and my husband before kids: I miss him. I miss us.
When I first began having this unprompted reaction to our old pictures, I thought, “Well that’s silly. I see him every day!” But the more I had this aching longing to revisit past memories with my husband, the more I chose to examine it.
We are in a season where our young kids, ages 4 and 2, demand a lot. At these ages, they are 100% dependent on us for all their daily basic needs, not to mention physical, emotional, and mental needs.
Fortunately, my husband and I are a great team. We run our household with the mentality that we are each other’s teammates. We don’t have very many assigned chores at home. Overall, if we see that something needs to be done, we jump in and do it. We adopted this “divide and conquer” approach when our oldest child was born, and it has served us well.
However, somewhere in the running around changing diapers, feeding tiny mouths, fighting big sleep battles, and singing our eighth rendition of “Let it Go” for the day, we started to lose “us.” We run past each other 100 times a day while catering to our children’s well-being, but we don’t see each other every day. By the time we have juggled our jobs, kids, and daily routines, all we really have the energy left to do in the evenings is mindlessly collapse in front of Netflix together.
We still talk, of course, and we love each other relentlessly. My husband is my best friend. But in this chaotic season of life, I am realizing exactly what I miss about us.
I miss being each other’s sole focus in this hectic world. I miss sleeping in on Saturday mornings together. I miss movie days where we stayed in pajamas all day, eating takeout, never leaving the couch. I miss in-depth conversations whenever we wanted. I miss being able to say a sentence to him without being interrupted at least three times. I miss not looking and feeling haggard around him. I miss date nights where our thoughts weren’t occupied with whether the kids are OK at home or how quickly we need to wrap it up to get back to them. I miss our freedom. I miss being carefree. I miss simpler times.
Without a doubt, my husband and I adore our children more than anything else in this world. We are eternally grateful for how they have turned our lives upside down. If I could go back to those Timehop days before kids, I wouldn’t. We chose them, and they are a beautiful extension of our love for each other. This is simply a season, and as seasons do, it will pass. Our children will grow up, and as they age, our focus will be less divided. We will have more time and energy for one another. We will eventually feel more at ease leaving the house to go out together.
My husband and I will never be who we were as a couple before kids, but we will find a balance between the self-involved couple we were then, and the running-on-fumes couple we are now.
In a few years, when my children are both in elementary school, I will check my Timehop app and feel nostalgic for the days when I changed their diapers, dressed them, rocked them, and collapsed in exhaustion with my husband at the end of the day.