first image: such a HIM face : )
I remember a dear friend once telling me that once Cedar turned 3, that my husband and I would somehow find our way back to one another as a couple apart from being a family. My friend and I were talking about how much we missed our husband's even though they were near us most of the day. We loved one another just as much, if not more but our energy and our reserves were devoted to our child and creating a nourishing lifestyle for him and by the end of the evening, we were happy to just sit near one another in silence and surrender to our exhaustion. I found myself concerned about our connectedness until my friend honored and validated me. I was in awe of her relationship with her husband and it felt reassuring to hear with both of their children, the first three years of their child's life shifted how they connected to one another. Not a lot of people talk about this or perhaps they aren't aware or perhaps they are too tired to be aware. But it felt validating, nonetheless.
My husband and I had many conversations about it. Allowing ourselves to be gentle in the midst of learning to be parents and put less pressure on needing to be crazy romantic lovebirds like we were before Cedar came into our lives. We looked at intimacy with a greater perspective and what intimacy meant to us as a family. Being in constant communication about our relationship hushed the gremlins that told me we had to be like them or them or even them. We just had to be us and us was pretty amazing and lots of fun. It was so good for me in that it broadened my mind about what romance is.
So three years old came around and my expectations of lots of romantic dates and hours of eye gazing and deep conversations came crashing to the ground. Oh those darn expectations! Its a constant lesson for me to let go of them. Even when I think I have none, I discover I do. Three for Cedar was full of so many transitions. It was the transitions that brought to surface many of Cedar's anxieties and sensitivities and our world's had to take pause. Three years old was an intense year for us as a family and just like our fertility journey, it drew my husband and I ever closer as we cocooned and healed. If I could say the most important thing that helped was the many times I came into his office (in our home) and plopped on his leather chair facing his desk and expressed my need to feel connected to him in all of this wildness. He would turn away from his computer and look into my eyes. We would find one another in those moments and whether it was about Cedar and his needs or the color blue, it was enough to just be present and it held us together.
As Cedar approached four, we felt happening what my friend talked about happening at three. As Cedar became more aware of his sensory sensitivities, he started to get into a rhythm of expressing his anxieties and needs rather than us navigating it for him. We found a beautiful and delightful babysitter that just "gets" him and his humor and his need to go into imaginary worlds. She spends time with him a few times a week and sometimes date nights. This allows me a bit of time to be alone in whatever capacity I need and it allows Boho Boy time alone when he finishes work because I am no longer too depleted to let him go. We also began connecting with a dear family a few doors down and each of us started to make dates with them. Me meeting her for coffee or tea or going on a walk and him meeting for guy time to play disc golf. One of their daughters comes over twice a week to play with Cedar and help guide him with how to share ideas and release the need to control everything in order to feel safe. We also have been surrounded by a few other souls that have compassion for Cedar and our journey. And all of these things may sound so simple to most of you...but to me, they are golden. They have breathed life into our hearts this year.
All this to say, through it all, my relationship with my husband is deepening and renewing. In fact the other day he had me belly laughing and he paused and said "its good to hear you laugh with me like that again!". I realized in that moment how seriously I have taken everything around me. I've had no choice. But the permission to embrace lightness is welcoming. Boho Boy's humor is one of the first things about him that I fell madly in love with. I feel like we are remembering what drew us to each other in the very beginning. Its been so so good. I love him so.