one of the most profound things about your responses to the survey, was how many of you liked my posts about marriage. it was a huge wake up call for me that i hadn't been posting much about that or maybe even thinking about it enough. so, i've spent the past few weeks being really present, trying to pick up on what makes this season of marriage unique, what it looks like for us, & here are some themes i kept coming back to:
shhhing over crib, touchdown "she's sleeping" dance:
one of our love languages right now is definitely the nightly routine of putting ellie down for bed: bathtime, books, hanging out as a family and then putting her down. it'd be easy to classify that as "about parenting," but i think it has a lot to do with our marriage. ryan and i alternate rubbing her back & "shhhing" over the crib as she settles in. we seem to know when the other person needs a bit of a break, and come off the bench to do our turn of "shh" and back rub. as she's turned five months (!!) she needs this less and less, but it's been our sweet little routine for a while now. the best part is when she's finally down, and we walk out in the hallway. you know how NFL players have a touchdown dance? well, we have our own little "ellie's asleep" dance/high five routine that i just love!
texts of encouragement during the day:
like a lot of you, i imagine, ryan and my relationship has always involved texting during the day -- whether it's news, or coordinating plans for that night, or a simple i love you, it's been an ever present part of our relationship. these days, i especially appreciate them. our days are WILDLY different -- he flies helicopters, i take care of a five month old (actually, maybe they're more similar than i think!). both of our days have unexpected twists & turns, and moments when we each need a bit of encouragement, for example: me: "fourth outfit change of the day & she's on a nap strike!!" ryan: "hang in there babe, modern family & s'mores ice cream just you and me tonight!" or ryan "cancelled for maintenance, again" and me: "e & i can't wait to see you!!!!" as you might expect, my texts involve a lot of emoticons and exclamation points :)
finding a new welcome home ritual:
one reader asked me a question a while ago that had such a huge impact on me: "what's your welcome home ritual?" i hadn't even realized we had one or how important it was to both of us! you can read about our original one here, but as you might imagine, it's shifted a bit. instead of coming home to one bottle rocket, ryan comes home to two! e & i are always so, so excited to see him. that said, we can't always run to the door -- sometimes we're mid-feeding or diaper change, other times i'm SO ready for him to get home, we're literally in the front yard (he probably knows that's a signal for i need a break :) sometimes i can't tell him about my day immediately, so we've found a new pattern. my favorite part of the new routine? the look on e's face when she sees him! stinky flight suit, no matter, she lunges for him with the biggest smile.
giving each other moments of respite:
so, new parenthood is a marathon, not a sprint, and a major adjustment -- for each of you, for your marriage, for pretty much every part of your life. there's a lot we haven't done perfectly, but one thing we've done pretty well is give each other moment of respite. on the weekends, we'll alternate who gets to sleep in a little later & who gets up to play with e. ryan seems to know when i really need a pedicure (i realize that sounds ridiculous, but it's been such a comfort to me) or a solo target run or just some time to take a long shower and read in bed. i try to pick up on when he needs some time too. we're gracious to each other, work really hard at communicating, and when we miss the signals, we try to figure out how we can do better next time.
head on pillows talking:
man, when our heads hit the pillow at night, it's never felt better. we sort of sigh with a "we made it through another day" and smile at each other. our best conversations seem to happen at this time, when we've wound down from the day & have a moment just to talk the two of us.
modern family + dessert:
after e goes to bed, sometimes we are so tired all we can do is nestle on the couch to watch modern family or how i met your mother and pull some ice cream from the fridge or pie i snagged at trader joe's and just "be" next to one another. ryan makes my nightly tea & though we don't have the energy to even have a conversation, we're comforted just being next to one another.
i realize these are small moments, but they're what make up our marriage, what grows our love for each other & how we're doing life together right now. photo above is of our coffee table. our wedding album was on the shelf for too long, i pulled it out so we could look at it every now & then. what an AMAZING day it was, but it more importantly began an even better marriage.