Gareth and Emmeline are playing at Bik-Bik’s house. They prefer going alone because they get spoiled more when I’m not around. Only their grandparents are truly capable of giving them the love and admiration they feel they deserve. Josh and I are just here to spoil their fun most of the time. Josh is working the evening shift tonight, so we decided at the last minute that I’d drive him in so we could go out for a quick lunch date. When you have small children, spontaneity is extremely rare and much appreciated. Nothing makes my day quite as much as, “Hey, the kids aren’t here. You want to go out to lunch/dinner/coffee?”
Josh’s carefree nature was one of the first things I loved about him (you know, back before we were dating, when we were “just friends”). He broke me from my addiction to post-it notes. I had every list, calendar, dispenser, tape, and cutesy hot pink thought-bubble shaped sticky pad imaginable. I was a bit of a planner. Josh balanced me out with his attitude of, “So what if it’s not on your to-do list? Let’s go spend two hours browsing the bookstore. I’ll buy you coffee!”
Of course, that all changed when we became parents. Thankfully Josh’s spontaneity wasn’t the only thing I loved about him because otherwise we would probably not still be married. I remember how hard that first year was. I spent a lot of time crying about how it seemed to take two weeks of planning just to make a quick run to Wal-mart. Sometimes I still feel like that: “So I’m going to go to Sam’s and Publix on Thursday, and Friday I’ll go to Aldi and Kroger. Can you make sure I wake up early so I have enough time to get there and back before you need to leave for work?” But five years and a couple kids later, I expect it, and I don’t cry about it (much). And as a side note, Josh was very thankful for my uber-planner side when his life was crazy with grad school. Unfortunately, by that point everything was on Google calendar so I never had any excuses to buy post-it notes. Sad.
It comes down to this: If you are about to become a parent, your dating life is about to be very. very. different. It’s OK if you want to cry about it. And for everyone else, here’s my helpful suggestion: If you really want to show love to young parents, call them up at the last minute and surprise them with free babysitting. They will love you forever. You will be their hero. They will talk about it for months. “Remember when so-and-so offered to babysit completely out of the blue? They’re so nice. We should bring them cupcakes/macaroons/whatever dessert is trendy right now.”