Suburban Butch Dad Report, 2/24/2010

I’ve got a little catching up to do, a date night to talk about, Valentine’s day lunch with new friends and the latest on my spawn.  So let’s get right to it.

Today’s Suburban Butch Dad Report is brought to you by coffee, a banana and … more coffee.

Date night.  Yes, Mrs. Kyle and I went on a date by ourselves, the Friday before VDay.  We were celebrating the 17th anniversary of meeting each other, as well as our ability to find babysitting for a 6 month old and a 10 year old.  We went to a favorite restaurant in Olympia, the Mercato Restarante.   We had a wonderful time, ordering yummy things to eat, talking.  Oh, man, talking is so good.  We had several full conversations on multiple topics.   It was awesome the way we visibly relaxed, more and more.  We laughed, smiled and flirted.  It had been 6 months since we’d had an evening alone and so much had happened during that 6 months.  The day to day, week to week, month to month effort of survival with an infant and a pre-teen and a job and community activities had drained us of some of our vitality and closeness.  As we sat, sharing appetizers and trading bites of our dinner, I watched as the worry lines on my wife’s face smoothed out.  We grinned and giggled at each other, I made goofy jokes so I could hear her laugh more.  I love her laugh, though she doesn’t usually completely cut loose in public.  My wife can guffaw in such a way that people outside our house would be looking around to see what the hell is going on.

We talked about our daughters, shared stories and anecdotes we hadn’t had time to do before.  We strategized and celebrated.  We spent some time talking about where she was emotionally, mentally and physically being at home full-time with the baby.  She’s committed to breastfeeding for a year, so she’s got almost 6 more months to go.  She doesn’t want to change her mind about that, but she admitted to feeling a bit trapped.  She’s also exhausted, nursing takes a lot out of her, usually leaving her craving a nap.  Multiply that by several times a day, and she never feels like she has the energy and time to get things done around the house.  Knowing this, I told her I was appreciative of all the things she does do for the rest of us.  She cooks wonderful meals, handles the family finances and calendar (which is becoming a fairly complex operation with how socially popular our daughter is becoming).   Along with feeling like she wasn’t getting enough projects done around the house, she’s feeling socially isolated.  Up to the week before she gave birth, she was getting out at least once a week, sometimes spontaneously heading down the bar once our daughter and I were settled in for the night.  Spontaneity is much harder to come by these days.  She told me that there are times she’d like to go out on a whim, but feels bad leaving me with the baby knowing I may be up until midnight or beyond and still have to go to work the next day.   I understand her point, getting me to work is an important goal, but so is allowing her to get out and socialize.  I told her that regardless of some potentially late nights, I was committed to doing what I could so that she could have some free time.  She’s been making accommodations for my free time, it’s not fair that she gets none.   Along the way we talked about our relationships outside the marriage, how things were working, doing the kind of relationship checkup that’s crucial to success.  She told me that she wasn’t upset that I had opportunities to get out and be with friends and my lover, just that she was upset she didn’t have those opportunities.  What I loved about that moment was that she was able to be honest about her feelings, acknowledge my activities but not in a defensive way.   She presented it in such a way that we could talk through the challenges and work toward solutions, rather than finding something to be angry about.

On the way to our friend’s house to get our girls, we smiled a lot, touched a lot and felt much more connected than we have in a long time.  I was reminded of how much I like her.  She’s not just the mother of my children, the maker of good food and the payer of bills.  She’s not just someone I love out of habit and by agreement.  I love her and I like her, like spending time with her, like hearing her stories, love watching her smile and laugh and enjoy life.  We promised each other that we wouldn’t wait another six months for our next date.

I know I promised to tell you about the Valentine’s day lunch and stuff the girls are doing but I think I’ll save that for the next post.    Until we meet again…

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