Redefining Romance in Parenthood
Friday June 18, 2010see more by jen
I was thinking about Father’s Day the other day and almost had to laugh out loud at how MUCH our lives have changed since we became parents 4 years ago. I mean, what did we DO before with all our time? It also got me to thinking about how much my idea of romance has been so drastically redefined since having our two kids. Things sure are different now, but I couldn’t imagine it any other way. So this is a personal post in honor of the daddy in our house this Father’s Day!
I met my husband on February 20th, 1998 at Malarkey’s Bar in Newport Beach by the jukebox. I wasn’t supposed to go out that night. I was nursing a broken heart and crying to the Titanic CD in my room. No joke. But my roommates got me in a party outfit and coerced me into going out with them to get me out of the “My Heart Will Go On” loop.
When I saw him across the room, I thought he was the cutest guy I had ever seen. I still do. It really was love at first sight. A couple hours later and with a little liquid courage, I spoke to him first. From that moment on we have been together ever since.
He called me two days later (this was the age of the movie “Swingers” – tell me you remember this part!) and asked me out to dinner. I bought new make-up, a new outfit and dreamt of where we would share our romantic first date. He picked me up (still as cute as I remembered) and when we get in the car he told me he was thinking we could get pizza.
OH NO. PIZZA?! Really? Major romantic red flags. Months later after we had been dating for awhile I asked him, “WHY pizza?” His response? “Everybody likes pizza.” That quote still makes me laugh. He’s practical, that husband of mine. And, he had a point.
As we talked over pizza that night, I found out that in addition to a shared hatred of mushrooms, we had lots more in common. He listened more than he talked, asked me questions, and really genuinely seemed to care what the answers were. He really was the nicest guy I had ever met.
But in the beginning I found myself hung up on his so un-romantic gestures. I once received a BBQ for a birthday gift (and didn’t ask for one) and a chimnea fire pit thing for the patio (huh?!) There were no expensive restaurants or surprises. No wining or dining. No romantic weekend getaways. Except for that one time to Palm Springs. With a time share catch. Ouch.
But I am a fairly low-maintenance sort of gal and I fell in love with him and all of his endless amazing qualities over many more Malarkey’s night outs and pizza dates. We were married just about 3 1/2 years later and started our family about 4 years after that.
When we had kids I had NO idea just how much my idea of romance or romantic gestures would be so drastically redefined.
Now romance is how he lets me sleep in on the weekend while he takes the girls grocery shopping. Or how he makes the brownies for my daughter’s preschool snack day.
When we have a barfer, he immediately does the clean up as I hold the hair and bucket.
Now it’s romantic to me how he cleans the kitchen at night after the kids go down because I have to go blog and work.
Romance was how he was my biggest supporter as I wanted to leave a “real” job (and paycheck!) and start my businesses. He is the first to tell me I can do something. He puts my happiness above all else.
We are a TEAM as parents and in life. He always told me that from the beginning, we are a team, way before we were even talking about marriage or kids. I had no idea how important our little team would turn out to be.
But most of all, how his girls, all three of us, are his most important priority. We are first. There is never a doubt.
He is my rock. The yin to my yang. My best friend. The person I would rather be with above all others. My most favorite person in this entire world.
So, if I had to tell my 23-year-old silly, hung up on where he would take me to dinner self, a lesson, it would be that there is a WHOLE lot more to life than expensive gifts or fancy restaurants. The real, priceless gifts lie in the every day gestures. The type of partner on YOUR team.
As my girls grow up, I know they will look at a man, their dad, that was always there for them. That made them #1, that sacrificed everything for them, that loves them no matter what, that treats them with love and respect. And, when THEY go to look for a man to marry, I know they will have the same expectations.
So, this blog is two-fold, number one a thanks to MY DAD and a very happy father’s day. Because he is the man that taught me how I deserved to be treated.
And, to the father of my children, happy father’s day (and incidentally, happy birthday!) to a man who shows me just how much he loves us, every day, …in the most UN-romantic ways!