A few weeks after our son was born, my husband and I were sitting next to each other on the couch for a rare moment alone together. Chase hadn’t slept without one of us holding him for 3 long weeks and we couldn’t see the end in sight. We slept in shifts, one of us manning the baby while the other got a couple hours of fitful, inadequate sleep; it was that beautiful, horrible time at the beginning that makes you wonder what you’ve gotten yourselves into. My husband looked at me with weary eyes and said simply, “I really miss you.” I looked away so he couldn’t see me crying. I missed him too.
My husband is my best friend and, miracle of miracles, after 11 years together, we still really enjoy each other’s company. We’ve been through more than a few trying times and come out on the other side, more in love than we were as pimply-faced, hormonal teenagers. But it had always been just us. And now we had to share each other with another tiny, demanding (albeit adorable) person and it was just so hard. I felt like I was losing my husband to my son. It scared the hell out of me.
Our son is almost 5 months old and I still feel that way sometimes. Now that he’s a little older and so much more fun, we can really enjoy family time where he is actively involved and not just a little blob who’s asleep 90% of the day. We go for walks, we bring him to the beach and dip his toes in the water, we lay in bed on Saturday mornings and make funny faces at him until he laughs. We spend hours staring at him, comparing his features and abilities to the day before (did he have that third neck roll yesterday? Since when did he learn to make the music start on that annoying toy?) Our son really does make everything better. But it’s still the end of a long era of coupledom and in my own way, I mourn that loss.
On the flip side, I love my husband more now than ever; seeing him as a father is the most incredible thing I can imagine as a wife. There is truly nothing sexier to me than a man who is willing to carry the diaper bag and rock his son to sleep. I’m over the era of flowers and jewelry; romance to me now is my husband folding the last load of tiny, poop-stained clothes and ordering takeout so I don’t have to cook for a night. It’s seeing my husband come home from a long day at work and immediately switch into dad-mode, playing on the floor with Chase in his khakis and collared shirt.
I can see already that this era is becoming our new normal; the years before our children will quickly be replaced by life as a family, instead of a couple. Sure, we’ll reminisce about those years on occasion and probably tell our son about them when he’s old enough to understand that his parents were once people other than “mom” and “dad.” And maybe that’s OK; a natural progression, as they say. But, I’ll still miss those days from time to time and look back on them as the beginning of yet another beautiful love story.