It isn’t always easy to keep the love alive when your knee deep in dirty diapers and baby tantrums. Everyone constantly reminds married couples about how important it is to “take time for yourselves” and “get away every now and then,” but no one ever really tells you how. My husband and I are blessed beyond belief with the amount of help we have had when it comes to the kids. For the past four years we’ve had Papa, Mama, and Nana all welcoming our babies with open arms so we could hit a hot date or a night on the town with our friends. So rewind to a few weekends ago when my hubby and I shared a really great Sunday Funday together.
It was an early Sunday morning for us, and I mean so early that it was long before our weekday alarm goes off. That’s how serious my husband was about getting to the tailgate on time. You heard me, tailgate. So we hopped in the car around 7:00am and jetted off to Tampa for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Chicago Bears NFL game. My husband is a huge fan of the Bears, he’s been talking about going to a game for as long as I can remember. (I guess I kind of suck at gifts because he definitely should have been to at least one game by now, but I’ll do my best to top it for Christmas.) Anyways, I couldn’t say no when he scored free tickets to the game, so we made a date out of it.
We got to Tampa around 9:00am, met up with a few family members, and wasted no time heading for the stadium. Tailgate started promptly at 10:00 and by 10:05 my husband had cracked open his first beer. He deserves days like this all of the time. The start to our day was a bit whimsical as our family had brought a tabletop grill, but no one bothered to assemble it beforehand! So after borrowing a screwdriver from a very prepared fellow tailgater, squinting through the intense sunlight to read the directions, and an all hands on deck attempt, thirty minutes later the grill was built! We grilled buffalo chicken tenders and polish sausages for lunch; homemade brownies, white wine slushies and chips and queso were all on the day’s menu, but a meal with adult conversation was the real treat!
At the last minute a friend of my husband upgraded our already free tickets to club level, and man was he excited. This day was already far better than I had even hoped. So we packed the tailgate up, I sipped the last bit of my wine slushy, one quick dose of baby sunscreen for the both of us, and we trekked on to the arena. This was my first NFL game ever and I was in awe from the very first step we took inside. Raymond James Stadium is absolutely beautiful and the Bucs pack a mean punch with their style. I guess I’m just use to indoor arenas, which Raymond James made seem dingy and old, because the bars and concessions were poppin’, the seats were clean, and the people seemed so jolly. Something about the weather that day was spot on too, the air was crisp and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
Club level turned out to be a serious win because whenever we needed a break from the sun we had the option to head inside into cool air conditioning and grab a drink, a pretzel, or just a glass of water. They even had TVs set up so Sam didn’t have to miss any of the game., and for the ladies, a chocolate-chip cookie stand.
Unfortunately it wasn’t the Bear’s best game, a win would have made the day even sweeter, but aside from the loss my husband and I loved every minute of it. It’s amazing how a few hours away from parenthood can make you feel ten years younger. I always joke that we’re 25-year-olds living the 35-year-old lifestyle, but this day at the game really gave us that refresher we occasionally need. We talked about our house goals, we talked about me going back to work, we talked about our friends that we hadn’t seen in a while, but mostly we talked about our babies and our desire to dedicate them at church. Somehow parents always go right back to missing their babies the second they’re away.
So we headed back to the car, and just like the end of every other amazing day, we headed back to our babies. Amazing Sunday, right? CUE THE REALNESS. I went home with the worst case of heat exhaustion I’ve ever experienced. I know, I’m so soft. I felt it the second we hit the road, my eyes were watery and burning, a migraine started to pulse in my forehead, nausea set in and I could barely keep my eyes open. I actually attempted to drive since, as always, my alcohol intake was nearly nonexistent, but I felt so incredibly sick that I was practically risking our lives by driving.
I slept almost the whole way home, which felt like a whole five minutes at most. When we got to my husband’s grandmother’s house to get the kids I immediately vomited in the driveway. I had to pick up my car after letting my in-laws borrow it for the day, so like any other awesome momma, I muscled through and made my way home. My absolutely amazing husband handled the kids that evening as I nodded off in the bathtub while trying to ease my migraine. At some point I made my way into our bed, I certainly don’t remember doing so, and the next morning was another routine Monday. I spent the entire day at work chugging water, poppin’ Tylenol and taking it easy. I teach, so “taking it easy” was nearly impossible as my body shook with sickness the entire day. I sound so dramatic, yes I know, but there is no fibbing in this story!
A day later and I was back to my normal self, but I should have known. I’ve struggled with heat exhaustion and dehydration my entire life, but no matter how much water I drink and how much sunblock I use, I always end up sick. Fast-forward a few weeks to today and my skin is still peeling from the sunburn and my farmer’s tan is just as solid as it was the day of the game. One day in the sun keeps me looking a mess for weeks!
But back to the most important part of this piece: marriage. I’ll always remember the days my babies were born, their birthdays, and the days they told me they loved me; but I want days with my husband that are worthy of remembering too. I want days that are so magnificent, even my ancient, 85-year-old mind can remember. Our love is the reason these babies are here, and we started our family so young, so we do our best to take time to ourselves and breathe a little. It’s so hard to balance the feeling of missing them and the feeling of guilt when we’re away, but it’s so very necessary to keep us chuggin’ along.
It’s not easy for everyone, not everyone has Papa and Nana, but do your best to date your spouse. Skip nap time and put the kids down an hour early, eat ice cream on the couch and talk about your next goal. It doesn’t have to be long or far, it just has to be ever so sweet.