Recently, my husband and I ate dinner at a quaint little tavern on capital square in Madison. We were seated at a small table that was uncluttered by stuffed animals, crayons, Pinkalicious or Spiderman books or even extra napkins.
Our conversation was slow to get started. Perhaps it was because it did not include phrases like “knees down, sit up straight” or “please use your napkin instead of the back of your hand to wipe your face” or “turn around, face front and sit on your bottom.” Without those familiar phrases to jumpstart the conversation, I was unsure how to begin the conversation, or perhaps just unwilling to break the quiet. My husband and I spent lots of time contemplating the menu, looking at the patrons around us, and generally adjusting to some time out without our little one.
“You know, a lot of the patrons here are young professionals,” my husband commented.
“Yes, just like us before E. We are probably the oldest people here.” I smiled.
It was fun to people watch, and after we ate we were free and on our own to be spontaneous with our itinerary—a stroll down State Street, pausing to look at the “freedom sing” on Capitol Square, laughing at the Capitol Pedaler—14-seat bicycle/bar and its occupants who freely posed for a picture, ducking in a coffee shop for tea and into a piano bar for a few measures of some old favorites.
It was a lovely night, something that we need to do more of, I think.
Because as much as I love my little princess, she is the product of the love my husband and I have for each other. If she is to continue to grow and blossom, then we have to nurture not only her, but the love that produced her, and that means taking the time to spend time with each other—uninterrupted.
So often as parents our sole focus is making sure that we spend our relatively few precious moments away from earning a living on our child—and that is as it should be. She is our priority. We made the decision to have and raise a child, and I love spending time with her, watching her grow and helping her become the person she is destined to be. However, it is precisely because she is our priority that we need to help her understand what it is to love someone, not to take someone for granted, ever—no matter how much you love them and they love you. We need to model that behavior by spending time, quality time with each other.
It is good for her to see us “dress up” and go out—giving each other our very best. It’s good for her to see Daddy open the car door for Mommy. It’s good for her to hear Mommy tell Daddy how handsome he is. When we take care of ourselves and each other, we are teaching her how to take care of herself and those she comes to love the most in her life.
We are even teaching her how to plan for the future. Our gifts to each other on our tenth anniversary? Rocking chairs for the porch, so that when we can sit outside, holding hands at sun set, taking care of a really special love. Of course we didn’t just buy rocking chairs, we made sure there was a rocking bench as well, just the perfect size for a little girl to squeeze in between her two adoring parents.
© 2012 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.