8 Years, 2 Kids: Love Looks Different

Love looks different these days. Here we are, eight years into married life (celebrating an anniversary just around the corner!), with two rambunctious kiddos vying for our attention every waking moment. It’s the best, and it’s hard.

Takeout

Gone are the days of ordering takeout and watching Netflix all day.

Recently, we had a rare kid-free night and day. It was awesome, because we started it off by doing exactly that, circa 2006. We picked up our favorite Chinese takeout on the drive home, drowned our plates in sweet and sour sauce and savored forkfuls of special fried rice while binge-watching Game of Thrones. We crawled into bed much past our bedtime and slept in until 8 a.m. The best!

We instinctively kept peeking over at the baby monitor, remembering the blissfully lazy pre-kid lifestyle, while knowing this moment would expire later today when the norm of our lovable little circus returned home.

We sipped our coffee slowly and mapped out the day. He had another project in mind—building a backyard fire pit. And, I already had a long list of indoor projects I could knock out quickly (sans interruptions!). None of it was super fun, but the fact that we were side-by-side working peacefully toward our goals was nothing shy of pure magic. For one entire day, we were free to do whatever we pleased. When he was getting tired, I brought him a summer shandy with lemon. When I peeked outside, he flashed that wide grin that’s made my heart smile for a dozen years. At the end of the day, we gathered over steak and potatoes and enjoyed one more moment of quiet before the homecoming of our sweet, smiling, silly girls.

Fire pit

Love doesn’t have to be glamorous to be amazing. These days, love looks like him handling the bedtime marathon and telling me to take a bath. Love looks like me saying, “Of course, have the guys over,” while keeping the kids busy upstairs making fresh cookies for the crew. It’s picking up a Starbucks on the way to church, or tossing a bag of peanut butter eggs in the cart, just because they’re his favorite. It’s starting the griddle on Saturday morning while mom steals a few more precious minutes of slumber. Love shows up in countless simple and selfless ways.

Tonight, he’s tucked in next to our preschooler, snoozing in the dollhouse bed. I’ll try and silently shake him one more time, but let’s be honest: he’s staying put. He’s cozy and comfortable and has his girls within reach. The girls that were the answer to our prayers, the girls that made us a family, the girls that sometimes cause us to forget what life was like before, when it was just us.

And soon, when these girls grow, we’ll spend as many days as we wish waking with no alarm, tinkering in the garage, whipping up something wonderful in the kitchen, doing whatever we please. I hope in the future we look back at the frequent chaos and mess and exhausting moments of today and smile, remembering all the little ways we held on to one another, clinging to the reason we started it all, throughout this merry-go-round of parenthood and life and love.

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