Lately, a bit more space has opened up in our lives. It took us a little while to notice, but it’s definitely there.
Leigh started kindergarten in the fall, which increased the logistical hurdles in our week (double drop off and double pick up). As of September, my job up and moved a two hour commute away which upped the logistical demands even more (yes, I really said two hours, but I don’t have to go to the office every day, and that’s by train so I can work for much of that time).
But even with these hurdles, Gail and I are both feeling a little more breathing room, like maybe we’re gradually exiting the frantic pace and demands of parenting super-little-kids. Leigh is starting to have a world beyond our own family, and so far, she’s thriving. Ira, now rounding the bend towards three, has always been a pretty focused and self-entertaining guy, but his games are getting deeper and more involved, especially when Leigh is amenable to playing with him, so on weekends they will sometimes go long stretches without needing us at all. I’ve started to feel my own interests coming back (interests beyond daily survival and staying afloat at work, though those are obviously still primary).
I picked up my trumpet again, after nearly a decade hiatus (I played seriously through college) and joined a local band. Gail has been going out in the evening on her own sometimes, spending a little extra time with her own mom or friends. We’ve both been taking a little more liberty in the evenings, to head out on our own and not worry much about missing bedtime, because, well, bedtime just isn’t that hard anymore, and the parts that are hard on the off bad night are not really any better if we are both home. At shabbat services on Saturdays, there have been a few times lately where we were both sitting in services, together, and either a kid was snuggled quietly on a lap following along, or they were both off playing somewhere, not needing anything from us, and not disrupting services (of all of these, that moment may have felt like the one that took longest to arrive. I found maintaining even a vague semblance of a meaningful spiritual life while parenting small children was damn near impossible, and extremely frustrating)
Parenting very young children is great work, but it’s hard work, and the demands can be relentless, especially with both of us working at jobs we care about deeply, and also trying to juggle schedules to make sure we get nice chunks of solo-parenting time (we both still structure our work to take a day home per week). So it is with some surprise that I realize some of those demands may be lifting. Of the two of us, I’m the most prone to both reminiscence and regret, so for me, noticing this is a tad bit bittersweet. But mostly, I’m proud of us, for taking some time to find our own space in the world again, as individuals with interests beyond our kids, for surviving, and mostly thriving, for these last 6 years or so. I’m proud that our kids are starting to find their own place in the world, to build and rely on their relationship with each other, to reach beyond us, just a little.