When David and I married 11 years ago, he was looking forward to years of candlelight dinners and romantic restaurants.
Well, he was half-right. We've had a few candlelight dinners all right, but mostly they consisted of hot dogs and macaroni and cheese on paper plates. At home. In our kitchen. And the candles? Leftover stubs from my son's fourth birthday party.
And so it's been since our wedding day, when David took on the role of new husband and of father to my two preschool children from a previous marriage. It wasn't long before David's visions of spontaneous romantic moments started fading away.
While other newlyweds were dining at upscale eateries, gazing romantically into each other's eyes, we were hurrying the children through the last piece of cold pizza so we could collapse for the night. While other newly married couples snuggled in close for the late show at the movie theater, we were picking popcorn out of the hair of the child in front of us at the matinee showing of Bambi.
I have to give David a lot of credit, because he took it all in stride. We snuck in a hug, or stared dreamy-eyed at each other sitting in the bleachers at a dusty baseball field whenever we got the chance. It was mysterious—our romantic secret—trying to steal a few moments in those early years.
As the kids grew, life became busier and romance took a backseat to gymnastics, Boy Scouts, basketball games, school events, dental appointments—the usual parenting jobs took precedence over any mommy-daddy time. At times, it seemed the only moments we had together were in the car while taking a child from one event to another.1