{reallife} hierarchy of dates


I love it. I love the surprises. The creativity. Sometimes even the messes. But who knew it would be so complicated? God gives us spouses and children and says -- "OK, have fun!" Woohoo. And they've got me laughing and crying and smiling and shaking my head and then infuriated and later snuggled up, heart all full.

And then there are bubbles EVERYWHERE. Again. And then he totally doesn't listen or understand or do things the right way my way or spend enough time with me or meet all my needs. And it's not the first time. I thought five years would cure him of all that? Y'know?


Really, truly, I'm too busy having fun with these people to sit down and really ponder what life means to me right now. And that's OK. I think. I'm not sure. It's complicated. :) I'm definitely trying to carve out alone time and time for writing and thinking and pondering. But it's sure fun to run around outside with them in the sunshine.
And so we pick up daddy at work and bring him delicious hot-out-of-the-over pot pie with tator tots. And "buzzy" juice. And we sit in the sunshine together on a beautiful day. And we enjoy each other.

And we go back outside to the greenspace and the friends. And we strap on our helmets and race around the circle. And we chase and tag and fall on the ground laughing.
And after sharp words and tears and misunderstandings, we make up and hold hands as we walk and talk together, looking for solutions. And we get really creative, designing something we've named the T&L Hierarchy of Dates as follows:

  • 0 we're apart
  • 1 we're parallel playing {working on separate projects, but in the same room}
  • 2 we're having a discussion {working on our relationship, but maybe not super pleasant}
  • 3 we're focused on each other, doing something fun while the kids play, semi-distracted {walking and talking}
  • 4 we're doing something fun together at home after the kids go to bed {playing a game or watching a movie}
  • 5 we get babysitting and spend two hours alone together, doing something we both enjoy {mountain biking}
  • 6 same as #5 but add $$ spent on food treats
  • 7 babysitting and four hours alone as a couple plus food
  • 8 babysitting and eight hours alone as a couple plus food
  • 9 we go away overnight, alone as a couple plus food and $$ spent on an activity
    {but free lodging -- backpacking perhaps}
  • 10 we go away overnight to a hotel or bed/breakfast plus food and $$ spent on an activity
    {the grand slam, like for a special anniversary}

Dates are not all created equal -- this helped my left-brained husband understand what I was trying to explain. :) We need something a bit more intentional and special every once in a while. We're doing our best to focus on our marriage in the midst of parenting young ones. It can be easier to put all our energy into the kids...but definitely not wise in the long term. Which is what we're planning for. 
Seriously. This guy I married is a kid magnet. He's so much fun. I love that about him.
Of course, he finished up this experiment with the requisite discourse about fire safety.

But he failed to tell his son anything about fashion or how to avoid the prep factor. It's all good. ;)
And so. The world spins. The flowers bloom. The days go by, smoother than they used to. 
The mommy settles into life, feeling calmer and more thankful. Definitely more thankful.

~thousands of gifts~
hand-in-hand walks around the green while the kids play
flowering trees
blooming hyacinths
hearty, difficult discussions that help us grow and understand each other better
how Ezra never wants to wear his pants
how he says "those aren't my pants!" even though they are
Home Depot dates
astonishing amount of bubbles in their baths lately
finding so many incredible people online who are doing what they can to HELP others
to do lists that eventually get shorter
seed packets all over the table
his newest song on the piano -- "what child is this"
crawling through forts not made for adults, in search of a clean diaper