Sweat trickled down the middle of my back, and popped up in beads on my brow. The storm door smacked shut behind me as I traveled in and out of the house, arms stuffed with the day’s gathering. Cool. Hot! Cool. Hot! Cool. Hot! I lingered a bit in the air conditioned kitchen before heading out for the next haul. Unloading groceries in a 110 degree heat wave is a tiring chore, but hubs and I were making good time.
As he heaved in two five-gallon water jugs, one in each hand, I marveled at his brute strength. It’s one of our many differences that I appreciate. Some of our other differences, though, have made the already difficult road of marriage and child-rearing a bit tougher to navigate.
Parenting is hard, yo. Two little ones born 23 months apart, the maintenance of owning 82 acres of Kansas earth, the pressures of mortgages, car payments, doctor’s bills…it’s enough to tear down even the strongest of couples. And although we’re much closer than we were even six months ago, I know there are many trials ahead that will test and refine our relationship.
All the while we were lugging in groceries, our young daughters, ages three and one, were screaming at us. Both overly tired from the heat, lack of naps and a day full of activity. There was nothing they really wanted, other than to get it out of their systems. Anna (the oldest) protested from the couch, writhing around with her pink security blanket, ducking for cover whenever we came into the room. “Don’t look at me!,” she snarled.
Erica, meanwhile, stood several feet in front of Anna, in the middle of the living room, dressed only in her diaper. Her hair was wild from perspiration, and her eyes were red from sleepy rubbing. When we were finally finished bringing in the seemingly endless number of sacks, my husband stood in the archway leading to the living room…and screamed back.
Erica immediately picked up on daddy’s antics, and with a reluctant grin on her face, stretched her vocal chords again. “Ahhhhhh!!!” Anna, however, was not amused. Her sensitive nature kicked into over drive (just like her mommy). “It’s not FUNNY! Don’t laugh!”
By now, I was standing at my husband’s side, and screaming along with him. I caught his eye. It twinkled. We kept this up for a minute or two longer, before we broke down in laughter. I leaned over and kissed his lips, the stubble on his face a contradiction to the softness of the moment. Our girls looked at us in bewilderment, and for the first time, it was us against them. Us. A couple. Laughing at this episode of ridiculous insanity in our house.
When we’re alone, we easily reconnect. But when we’re taking care of our girls, our focus is on them, and we’re momma and daddy, two ships passing in sometimes rocky waters. But at this moment, facing off against our beautiful offspring, we were one.