Today brought a classic rock mix of CSN, Dire Straits, Supertramp and a little Fleetwood Mac. It was all stuff I have not listened to in years and it took me back. My daughter perked up as I sang to her, giggling and getting playful. I turned her upside down for a huge belly laugh and, as I was bringing her back up, I looked at her laughing, smiling face.
My breath caught in my throat.
I saw my wife in her in a way I never had before.
My wife and I have talked about who our girls look like since the second they were born. We compare features like eyes, chins, skin tone, hands, feet etc. However, this was different.
In a flash, I saw in my 2-year-old’s eyes, my wife as she was when we first met. Before the kids and pre-school tuition and the trappings that parenthood brings. In that moment I realized our girls really are the embodiment of the love that I share with my wife. It’s a simple point, but it really does get lost in the bedlam that is parenting.
As the music played on, I remembered that before the diapers, baths, homework and structured discussions about our household budget, there was an “us.” I admittedly haven’t “seen” my wife in that light in some time. Not because of any problem with our marriage, but because it is easy to get caught up in life while forgetting to simply live.
It is not uncommon for people to lose touch with that old spark once they have kids. We consciously try to reignite it all the time. We make time for each other with date nights and other special moments in spite of our kids’ demands and schedules. That calculated need won’t change, but I want to try to remember that initial, spontaneous rush that led us to this time raising two precious girls.
Valentine’s Day would seem like the time to embrace and re-experience that feeling, but it has just never been our thing. However, this year, I may take the opportunity. I don’t mean the $200 Prix Fix dinners, chocolates, cards and heart-shaped gifts.
Valentine’s Day can be any day on the calendar that pulls me out of the grind of life for a minute. It could be February 14 or it could be every Friday for the rest of the year. My wife knows I love her. I tell her so every day. I know she loves me just as much. What that fleeting glance of my daughter’s face taught me is that I am still in love with the woman I married. I still love her in the way when we were newlyweds, but I now also get to love her through our children.
If there is a commercially contrived day that reminds me of that once a year, then so be it. Happy Valentine’s Day.