Only three times have we been wholly without offspring longer than a few days, and number three is happening right now. Miss G is in Minnesota till the end of July, and Miss L is in Reno till mid-June.
Some would say it's an opportunity for romance, but Dan & I don't agree. It just feels boring and aimless without any kids in the house. And quiet, which is nice I guess... except that it's too quiet.
There are obvious perks. I cooked fish for dinner. I can start a project, phone call, or shower without an interruption every few minutes. Dan did not have to make an emergency ketchup run a few days ago when we ran out of the stuff. There's less general chaos, I suppose.
But-- well, we're used to the chaos. We like the noise.
Our marriage is defined by these kids. The daily concerns and stresses we have are kid-related-- Miss L's recurring sprained ankles, Miss G's recent migraines. The stories we tell to each other at the end of the day are about the kids. Even a chunk of our fights are about the kids.
There's very little "us" without them. Our plans are all kid-centric. Our free time is spent with them, either one-on-one or as a family. We're used to the energy required to maintain ready compromises and crisis management. Without the all-hands-on-deck mentality... well, it's dull.
Maybe the problem is lacking a history together without our girls. There's no me without Miss G; we're a team. And there's no Dan without Miss L, either. Our earliest dates were spent exchanging stories about them.
As we grew closer as a couple, our definition of "family" spun out to include each other, and our respective daughters by extension. We kept right on making family our priority, but what "family" meant to us as separate adults broke down over time and re-emerged as a shared vision. Although we've had our ups and downs, our love for each other-- among all four of us-- has deepened and grown over the years.
We didn't sit down and make a conscious choice to smash our lives together; it's just what happened. Our marriage didn't create a union of two; our "we" is four.