We both went to bed with tears in our eyes.
It was past Remi’s bedtime and Waffle and I were both home, something increasingly rare. We protect a little late-night time, whenever Waffle gets home, for catching up on the day, watching our TV shows, and mostly sitting on opposite sides of the living room playing games on our phones if we’re being really honest. It could be enough, but lately it had not been feeling like enough.
“Do you feel like we’re drifting apart?” I asked.
“I do,” I said. “I worry we’re going to keep on this path.”
“I don’t feel as close to you anymore and I feel like I have to say something because if we don’t talk about it then one day we’ll wake up and find that we’re just really good friends who love each other, but aren’t in love with each other and I don’t want that to happen.”
I searched for signs of acknowledgment or shared concern.
“I’m sorry you feel that way,” he said. We stared at each other with tears in our eyes. He got up and went upstairs alone. I didn’t follow.
Later, before bed, Waffle texted me from the bedroom. I’m sorry you feel that way. I love you.
The next day, we got up around 7:30 am to get Remi ready for Pre-K. Every morning, she climbs into our king size bed and cozies up in the middle. Sometimes she yells, “Open your eyes!” Some days she sings us a song. On the sweetest days, she snuggles up like the tiniest little spoon under the covers.
We all get cleaned up and dressed together. We drop Remi off at school together. With his recent schedule change, the time between 7:30 am and 9:00 am drop-off is the only time Waffle gets with Remi on weekdays.
After dropping Remi off at Pre-K, I cautiously broached the topic again. Not the best timing, I knew. Fall brings the worst of the sads for Waffle. Maybe that was part of it. Or maybe it wasn’t. It felt like things were starting to feel less intimate, that we only talked about our jobs and our toddler, and that we didn’t have much left to talk about when we finally found alone time. I suggested we take advantage of our newly free early morning hour and have a weekly standing morning date. He agreed.
I planned the first date, a 9 am trip to the public market, a place where we used to go regularly pre-Remi and hadn’t been to for years. The market has open-air fruit and veggie shopping, light crowds on weekdays, a call-back to simpler times in our relationship, and also fresh empanadas. We didn’t make any rules about how to conduct ourselves, but we both put down our phones for the entire date. We held hands while browsing for local produce and bought some concord grapes. Minus the bees who hang out near the Empanada Stop trying to get a taste of our breakfast empanadas, it was a really gentle, low-stakes, sweet date.
“This is nice,” he said. I squeezed his hand. We go on our morning date every week now. Sometimes to the market and one day when the weather was horrid, we instead drove out to a local farm seeking warm, fresh cider donuts.
This past weekend, Waffle and I did one of our epic whirlwind NYC adult-only trips. We don’t do them as frequently now that childcare is a factor, but when we do them, we don’t mess around. We went to two huge NYC Halloween parties with a Hitchcock theme (and executed some pretty excellent couples costumes, if I do say so myself).
We also saw three new immersive plays. (One was not great, but the other two were excellent and one made us both sob uncontrollably.) Of course, we saw the one show we’ve seen a hundred times (literally). We had brunch with friends and scarfed tacos on Governors Island and snuck late-night snacks from the bodega near our hotel. We stayed in Chelsea like the tourists we are. We attempted to sleep in, however futile on a Pre-K sleep schedule internal clock. We dashed about all day and all night and crashed into our queen hotel bed exhausted in the wee hours of the morning each night.
On the last night, I finally succeeded in sleeping in and…missed my outgoing flight. We’d decided to split our return flights home. I went back on Monday to pick up Remi and take her home. Waffle stayed until Wednesday. On Tuesday, Waffle turned 38. Frankly, I can think of very few things that would please him as much as going to Sleep No More on his birthday. I left him alone on his birthday, by his and my choice, and I strangely felt more connected to him than ever.
On the day I missed my flight, I felt awful. Waffle’s parents were anticipating taking a half-day off of work and I was no way going to make it back until the early evening. Once I sorted out my flight change, we decided to get lunch near the hotel. We had an unexpected block of time to fill. After three days, four shows, and two parties, we had a million things to talk about. Over burgers, we chatted excitedly and took silly selfies before I had to leave for the airport. Right before I walked out of the hotel with my bags, I flopped onto the bed and we got into another philosophical discussion about one of the shows we saw. If I could have stayed longer, I would have.
“I really have to go!” I said. “I’ll see you at home.”
4 Queer Parenting Things I’m Currently Overprocessing
1. You Can Stand Under My Bumbrella, Ella, Ella, Ella
Waffle got Remi an umbrella and she loves it. She used it for trick-or-treating in the rain this Halloween. She wants to use it whether or not it’s actually raining, though. Have you ever felt as pleased about modern conveniences as Remi is about her “bumbrella”?
2. Parenting Things I’ve Googled This Week
- how to help toddler learn to wipe potty training
- ways to help three year old with separation anxiety
- halloween songs for kids
3. Progress at Pre-K
You may have inferred or read that Remi had some challenges adjusting to Pre-K. That said, she’s a kid who adapts and learns quickly. She’s still a little nervous about her full classroom in the morning (“Too many people!”), but she goes in willingly. She’s leaving her lovey, Dino, at home finally and has also started being more confident talking to new kids, in general. I still can’t believe she’s shy at school–it’s completely unlike her personality at home. It’s great to see her start to open up, though!
4. On a Related Note
Remi and Jeter are getting closer and closer. For the most part, they hang out peacefully unless Remi gets loud or stomp-y and scares Jeter. I finally see a future where they’re more comfortable with each other all the time. Only took three years and anti-anxiety meds to get here, but I’m happy about it.