We went to a wedding this past weekend.
Going to a wedding with Big Man before we had kids = relaxing, romantic date. We would get all dressed up, go to some beautiful location, and get all the warm fuzzies of seeing some friend or family member become a newlywed. We would reminisce about our own wedding, dance together, and usually enjoy being the longest-married couple among other people our age.
Going to a wedding with the kids = exhausting process. We get the kids all dressed up and hope they don’t spill food or spit up on the nice clothes. We get ourselves dressed as fast as possible in the few minutes we have here and there while working on the kids. We still get to go to a beautiful location and get the warm fuzzies, but one of us is chasing Little Man all over said location and the warm fuzzies are interrupted by Little Lady needing to eat or be rocked to sleep. We reminisce about our own days as newlyweds in that “remember back before we had kids and we could do anything we wanted” way. Dancing together: not a chance because we leave long before the dancing part, usually in the middle of dinner. Longest-married couple of people our age? Yep, but usually also the only couple with kids, so honestly there is some envy of the other couples who get to stay and dance and not be dealing with tired, grumpy kids.
Big Man and I have lots of fond memories of dating, getting married, and being newlyweds without kids. And honestly, there are times when I look back at that time and wish for the freedom to spend the weekend at a bed and breakfast, or go to a movie, or just snuggle together on the couch in peace and quiet. But I wouldn’t go back, even if I had the power to. Yes, the kids are a lot of work but they’re worth all of it. Yes, I’d love to spend a weekend away with Big Man, but there is something very intimate and romantic about catching little opportunities here and there to hold hands, or have an at home “date”, or just grab a quick hug or kiss. Our relationship is better and closer now than when we first married. Yes, some days I reach my limit of dealing with crying and tantrums, but then I get those special moments of Little Lady falling asleep in my arms, or Little Man taking a break from playing to come over and give me a hug and kiss. I get to see Little Lady smile and giggle when she wakes up from a nap and sees me. I get to watch Little Man play chase/tag with the cat and squeal with delight when I chase him down the hall and tickle him. I get to see Little Man give Little Lady kisses.
I’ve heard to many times that as a Christian I need to remember that “the best is yet to come.” Usually that is said in the context of waiting for Heaven but I think it is true here on earth too. Dating Big Man was fun but it didn’t compare to marrying him and our days as newlyweds. Our first years of marriage were special but our relationship is so much more intimate now than it was them. Having just Little Man was exciting and filled with all the new-parent discoveries, but now we have Little Lady too and we get to experience all those things without the new-parent stress of worrying about every little thing. So during those times, like the wedding, when I am tempted to wish for the days before kids, I try to remember that the best is yet to come. And I look forward to being able to look back at this time and say, “It was fun when the kids were little, but it is so much better now because. . .” I don’t know the details yet, but I do know that it will keep getting better. And I still get to look forward to the real best, Heaven.