Monday, May 07, 2007


One of the many pitfalls of parenting is sacrificing quality time with your partner in order to deal with life's daily grind. Diane and I stagger our work schedules as well as utilize the services of my in-laws to avoid having to place the girls in daycare. And then we're constantly transporting the girls to softball games, softball practices, gymnastics, etc. Throw in miscellaneous activities like play dates and birthday parties, and, oh yeah, homework, and there's not much time left over for Diane and me. In the midst of all of this activity, communication gets easily lost in the shuffle, and is often reduced to grunts or smart-ass remarks (usually uttered by me) that bristles against the sensitivities of the other party (usually Diane). Sure, we have a couple of hours together to connect after we get the girls to bed, but by that time we are exhausted and usually collapse in front of the TV.

Last week was a tough one for Diane and me. I am a guy, and guys sometimes do or say stupid things that hurt our loved ones. Sometimes this is intentional, but most times, in my case anyway, it is not. We are just oblivious to what we've said or done, and in many cases the ones we've hurt just stuff their bruised emotions. Thank goodness Diane isn't like that, and last week she'd had enough. She confronted me on some of my attitudes, words and actions. Like I said before, I am a guy (notice I didn't say "man"?), and guys sometimes don't deal with confrontation very well. Guys are more interested in saving face than dealing with the consequences of their words or actions. So, like a guy, I addressed her issues at the surface level and then tried to sweep them under the carpet because I was pissed and didn't fully understand where she was coming from.

We continued to go through the motions for the next few days, mostly because we saw each other in passing on our way to work or to the girls' activities, but Diane, thank goodness, refused to let it go. One thing I really love about my wife is her strength. She is a beautiful woman, minus all of the emotional baggage that most beautiful women seem to carry with them. She pulled me aside one morning late last week and asked if we could spend some time talking through our issues on a day where we had time. I was tired of all the tension between us, so I agreed.

So last night, after we put the girls to bed, Diane threw a bag of popcorn in the microwave and stirred up a batch of margaritas (what better than a buzz to loosen the tongue), and we settled into our positions on our comfy chair for a heart-to-heart chat. Diane shared first, and although I sat down ready for a fight, her words took all the fight out of me. Her feelings weren't insecure and irrational the way I thought they would be, and I quickly realized that I had a decision to make: I could argue for the sake of saving face and continue being an ass, or I could validate her and her feelings, own up to my actions and apologize for hurting her. Let me add here that approximately 99.9% of the apologizing in our relationship is done by me. It's not manipulated out of me, I'm just that stupid. I clicked the override button on my stupidity, took my medicine, and apologized for the zillionth time.

We were then able move into a productive discussion about our relationship where we came to the realization that we miss each other. We see each other every day, but we're always in motion, going somewhere or doing something. This is a necessary evil as parents, but we end up neglecting ourselves and our relationship in the process. One of the best things we as parents can display for our girls is our love for each other. Diane even commented last night that the girls actually get excited when we go out on a date. The last time we went out (before Valentine's Day...ughhh), the girls teased us, "MOMMY AND DADDY, GOIN' ON A DA-ATE!!" then running off and giggling, well, like school girls. So, we're going to make a concerted effort to date more, and I'm excited about it.

Our discussion wasn't fun, but it helped me to realize just how much I still love my wife...actually how much MORE I love my wife...because she doesn't let me get away with my childish B.S. She's a tough cookie who makes me want to become a better man. I love you, Hon. You're the best. Happy Early Mother's Day.

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