Marriage takes a beating during the early years of parenthood, doesn't it? I've started calling them the short years. Because we're in the thick of them, and sometimes it helps to give things a label. We're short on everything.
Short on sleep. Money. Alone time. Self-care. Time together. These are the short years, the pinched years, the years of tightening up and buckling down; hands-on, always on, hearts out, worn out.
We're short on energy. Patience. Our words to each other are always cut short by cries and demands and crashes from the other room. We're short with each other. The emotions and the worries and the work and the exhaustion get boiled down into a few curt words, and we're too short on time to get to the making up part.
We're short on passion, motivation, creativity—the things that used to attract us to each other—because these tiny people our love made take most of (sometimes all of) our bodies, minds, and spirits.
We're short on money because we're in the expanding part of our lives: everything (everyone) is growing faster than our paychecks and our house and our car can keep up.
We're short on time to spend together—and I miss us. I sleep next to him every night (and please understand, I use the term "sleep" loosely these days), but I can't remember the last time we relaxed together. I miss laughing with him, I miss hours without an agenda or the looming duties of bedtime creeping up.
These are the short years.
But they're short.
If the cliches are to be believed, I'll look back on these years fondly. They're already whizzing by, leaving us breathlessly and stunned and half-smiling in disbelief. And isn't it good these full years only last so long?
And there's no one else I'd rather be short on everything with. Here's to the short years. May we weather them well.