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Star Wars valentines.


Divers off Alki Beach Sunday morning.










Monday, February 13, 2006

On Thursday night last week I asked JB what he wanted to do over the weekend. "Hmm," he said thoughtfully. "Do you have any ideas?"

I chewed my lip and stared at the ceiling, furrowed my brow. "Hmmm," I echoed.

Why we indulge in this ridiculous charade I do not know. Maybe to cling to some hopeful fiction that we actually have a wide variety of options laid before us. Darling, shall we stay up past 10 PM? Oh do let's, and open the sparkling cider.

This weekend we did what we often do: we ran short errands, we rented a movie, we spent a little more of Riley's college fund at the drive-through Starbucks. The weather was spectacular, and so we also went for long walks, stroller and ecstatic Dog in tow. JB went diving on Sunday morning, and I had some time to myself later that day to snorfle happily through the library before carrying home a delicious, towering pile of books.

We also dealt with several screaming meltdowns from a boy who may or may not be coming down with a cold, judging from his mucusy snout and lightning-fast progression from Mildly Cranky to Abandon Hope, All Ye Within Forty Miles; we gave up on our Saturday afternoon outing and drove home desperately singing in tandem in an attempt to soothe the wailing beast; we watched dinner slowly congeal as we took turns pushing his stroller around the living room. JB discovered what a combination of semi-digested sweet pea baby food and formula looks like (hint: really, really fucking gross) after a largish amount was delivered down the front of his shirt; I got up at 2 AM and again at 5 AM to deal with a fussy baby who had flipped onto his belly only to find that he couldn't turn back over.

I had a good weekend. I think if you asked JB he'd say he had a nice weekend too. I think it's hard on us, though, in ways we don't necessarily realize. The near-constant attention a baby requires, the wide-reaching impact on our everyday life. I've talked here about the good things, the unbelievably wonderful changes Riley has given us, but, you know, there's also a million tiny irritants, a new set of strains and pressures that a marriage must shoulder.

I told someone recently that I believe Riley has brought JB and I closer together, and that is true, but it's also true that it can be hard to connect as a couple, as husband and wife, not just partners in Team Riley. I view JB with a new set of eyes these days as I see the amazing father he has become, and I believe the reverse is true, which creates a dimension to our relationship we never had before; it's richer, deeper, but for everything that's been added there's also been bits and pieces chipped away. I don't mean things have been lost forever, or that we've ended up with less than we started with, I mean that everything has altered shape. A slightly different form has emerged.

I've been scratching my head over Valentine's Day because 1) gah, stupid stupid fake holiday but 2) it's not like you can ignore it and 3) what says "I have been in love with you for seven years now and I can hardly believe the twisting, turning path that's taken us to where we are now and I thank you so much for holding my hand the entire way"? A stuffed bear, a heart-shaped foil balloon?

I miss some of the activities we used to do together on the weekends: hiking, meandering through Pike Place Market, going to movies, jumping in the car whenever we felt like it. Then again, who would have guessed we could have so much fun together blowing on a baby's face to watch him laugh? Things have been curtailed, things have been sweetened; the picture has changed.


Also, we've booked flights to Vegas for May, when we're going to spend A WHOLE WEEKEND sans child, because no one ever said you couldn't love your son with all your heart and nerves and mitochondria and simultaneously need a teeny, tiny break.



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