Monday, August 6, 2007

Occasionally Childless

This summer has been like last summer in that my children are spending a month with their grandparents in California, and are they ever having a fun time of it. My parents have taken them on several outings already, fulfilling the summertime dreams of travel and adventure. My wife and I are glad that the kids have such an opportunity and are making the most of it.

In the meantime, we have the house to ourselves, save the two dogs that sleep next to the bed. This occasional “childlessness” has offered us an opportunity to diligently work on the quality of our marriage. Oh we miss the children to be sure, but since we were not married for long before having the first child (the oldest was born 3 days after our first anniversary), we crave the time alone facilitated by the generosity of my parent’s keeping the kids for a month.

The evenings out, the weekend afternoons spent browsing, the coffee conversations have all been a much needed and refreshing break from the routine. This has been especially felt on the eve of our 14th wedding anniversary. Because weeknights can be problematic for unhurried romantic evenings, I spent the weekend arranging special moments for us. We browsed stores, took in a movie, felt the breeze on the lake shore and enjoyed fine dining. It was a rejuvenating reminder that we are indeed married, not simply a legally bound couple who coordinate their efforts in rearing children in the same house.

It must not be misunderstood that this state which allows such marital focus somehow diminishes missing the children. On the contrary, I look forward anew to the banter with my daughter, plus the antics and energy of my boys. Nevertheless, the value cannot be calculated on the time spent alone with my wife nurturing a healthy relationship that does not require children for its cohesion. In this way, we try to make the most of being “occasionally childless.”

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