The room was lit only by the flickering of the television screen
as some nameless promoter tried to convince my wife and me that
their diet would get us slim and trim in weeks. We just laughed as
we munched down on our cardboard pizza and brown 'n' serve sausage
links at 2 a.m. on a Saturday.
It's difficult to balance the roles of caring parent and loving
spouse when dirty diapers and Sid the Science Kid tend to eclipse
any romantic moments that might pop up. So there we were with all
the kids asleep and taking a couple of hours for ourselves just
talking and laughing at the lengths people will go through to sell
me a Slap Chop.
Brock Cooper with his wife Jessica and
their son Devin.
I always thought it was funny when I would read books or
articles about the importance of taking a day or so a month just
for you and your spouse. They tell you, even if you can't afford
it, you should get together and go out for a movie or dinner
without the kids. I can't help but think that these people either
do not have children or make enough money where they can hire
babysitters willy-nilly. For the rest of us living on a shoestring
budget and having several small children close in age, finding that
day or two a month for getting away is like finding a needle in a
football field-sized haystack.
Instead, we focus on the magical moments that we can steal away
throughout the week and the weekend. They happen early in the
morning before the kids wake up, they happen after dinner when the
children run off into the living room, and they happen late
evenings when the kids are asleep and we can garner enough energy
to stay up for a few extra hours.
Some of these moments may only last a few minutes. Our eyes meet
not as mom and dad, but as husband and wife. We give each other a
kiss, hold hands as we put dishes away and/or talk about the movie
we just watched and how much I loved it and she hated it. These
moments are more important than an evening of overpriced food and
an expensive movie. It's not about getting away, but connecting
with the person you fell in love with.
Cardboard pizza and sausage links may not be romantic, but it's
a late-night dinner that I will never forget. We finally went to
bed around 4 a.m. after even the pitchmasters gave up hawking their
wares. We were up only a few hours later with two of our children
jumping into our bed like effervescent kangaroos, telling us to get
up because it's daytime. Grudgingly, I opened my eyes and saw their
smiling faces, and I couldn't help but smile back. I turned over to
see my wife looking at me and smiling as well.
I guess magic moments can happen at any time.
Brock Cooper is a freelance writer who lives in Peru with
his wife, Jessica, and three sons, Kyan, Jaxon and Devin.
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