Mother (Almost Never) Knows Best: Stand By Me: The Art of Staying Married with Children

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Stand By Me: The Art of Staying Married with Children

Today I saw one of my favourite sights in the world. It is a sight that makes my heart sing like a toddler channelling Elsa. It is a sight that makes me realise, even in the darkest times, that the world is not such a bad place. It is a sight that, one day, I hope to be able to re-enact. Today I saw two elderly people holding hands, and when I say elderly, I truly mean old. This couple were less spring chicken and more wise old owl, they had spent less of their life with Google and more with encyclopedias, and their gait was less strident and more shuffling in form but they were beautiful. They were still strong and independent and their hand holding visibly affectionate rather than based in a need for physical support. 
6 years and counting....
Now, I am usually a cynic and I realise that this pair of octogenarians may have only been together for the past two years having endured bitter divorces battled out in court or cruel, untimely bereavements which left them seeking solace in one another. Perhaps, as they walked the streets of Edinburgh, they were amidst a torrid love affair fuelled by a cocktail of Irish coffees and Viagra, downed while their better halves were distracted having devoted themselves to more charitable activities. Perhaps this was the case, however, I am choosing to believe that they had shared their entire adult lives together. I am choosing to believe that life had neither been exceptionally cruel nor unusually kind to them but having set their caps at one another they had chosen to stick together; they had chosen to recognise the value of what they had invested in one another.
39 years and counting...
So today Husband, I ask you to wait. Wait for the day when my hands are free to be held; when they are not so busy wiping streaming noses and wriggly bottoms. Wait for the time when my hands are not constantly engaged in the intricate princess tea parties and trainset assembly. Wait for the day when my arms are not consistently wrapped around a small person who is inconsolable with rage or fear and wait for the day when my body is no longer a climbing frame; a safe house or a buffet station. Just wait.

For I too am biding my time. I wait for the day when our home is flourished with nice things and is no longer a shrine to the Gods of vibrantly coloured plastics. I long for when we spend our time together, not apart, even doing the banal administrative tasks of adult life and not constantly having to pass the relay baton of parenting so that we can go to the bank, do a supermarket run or get a much needed haircut. I want for the day when we argue over things other than who is better placed to pick up the childcare slack when nursery falls through or who is bearing more of the weight of responsibility for earning the money for nappies, formula and education.
45ish years and counting (actual years rarely disclosed)...
I want us to travel; climb hills and scale mountains. I want us to socialise together, not apart. I want us to run a marathon in a place we have never been. I want us to go on dates and kiss like teenagers again. I want to see you for you and not just the amazing dad you are.

But right now, I am relishing every moment. I am treasuring each clammy hand wrapped around my neck or placed in mine without request. I am cherishing each inconsequential toddler secret that is uttered in my ear and for which I am sworn to absolute secrecy. I am savouring every first be it step, word or school day but most of all my love, I am delighting in sharing it with you.
59 years...
For one day we too shall be old and we will likely have travelled to those exotic locations, scaled the numerous mountains and spent evenings and weekends with friends old and new but as we walk the streets I know we shall be discussing our two greatest achievements and everything they have brought to our life together. That day, my love, we too shall hold hands. 
Unless I have said something rude (then our bellies will "shake with laughter, and we shall live happily ever after")

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