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Challenge: Romance After Kids

Romance and the Sandwich Generation

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A few weeks ago my husband and I found ourselves in a situation that doesn’t come often enough. We were home and our three kids were not.

As we were, let us say taking advantage of our good fortune, the doorbell rang.

Our first kid wasn’t due home for another hour. We couldn’t imagine who would be at the door. Joe got out of bed and peaked out of our window. It was my father.

“Oh, gosh, he probably wants to check on Lizzy’s fish tank. I told him one of the fish died.” I said this half laughing and half embarrassed out of my mind. Yes, I might be a 50-year-old homeowner and a married mother of three. But I really didn’t want my father to catch me in bed with my husband.

“OK. I guess I should let him in.” Joe said this as he was quickly putting on his clothes.

“Hold on. Tell him I’m napping and you were downstairs doing laundry. That’s why it took you so long to get the door. Don’t let him know I’m awake.“

“OK. That’s good.”

The bell rang again. I now could not stop laughing.

“Hold on Kathy, I think he is going back to his car.” Joe took another peek out the window. “Yes, he is gone.”

We continued to hysterically laugh. We were really feeling our place in the sandwich generation. Hiding from both our kids and our parents.

It was then I was reminded of a time about five years ago when Joe and I did something I have never told anyone before.

Until now.

It was in the middle of the summer, and my parents had just seen the latest summer blockbuster (sorry but for the life of me I can't remember what is was). They enjoyed it so much they offered to come over and watch our little darlings, who at the time were, 11, 8 and 5, for a few hours so Joe and I could go see it.

I can’t say I was dying to see a big budget Hollywood movie this particular day, but my mom didn’t raise a fool. I wasn’t going to pass up a few child-free hours with my husband.

The two of us had just started to make our way to the theater when Joe asked me something that made me blush.

“Kathy, would you like to skip the movie and go to a hotel instead?”

“What? A hotel? Joe I’m a nice suburban wife and mother now. We don’t do those type of things. Plus what would my parents say?” I was laughing as I said this. I was also a little shocked.

It’s not that I’m a prude or anything. I was 27 when I got married and had lived on my own in New York City long before I met Joe. We were married for almost six years before the kids came along, and even now that they were here, I have always enjoyed our romantic life.

Yet I was also keenly aware that I was no longer a kid. I was 45. And a very busy mom of three children who had a variety of learning differences and special needs. I was a daughter and a daughter-in-law who took parents to the doctors and waited in hospitals while they had various surgeries. I was stressed out and didn’t sleep enough. I was also very far from my ideal weight.

Who was I to go to a hotel?

I was thrilled that my husband still saw me as an attractive, desirable woman, but unlike my more carefree days, intimacy is something that doesn’t feel as natural as it once did.

I looked over at Joe who was smiling and I mustered up enough strength to say, Sure. Let’s do it.

We were both acting more like teenagers than a middle-aged married couple as we checked into the hotel. I really did feel as if I was having an affair. And I’m pretty sure the hotel clerk thought we were too… If memory serves me, we left our romantic tryst through the back exit.

Cool we are not.

As I look in the mirror and see wrinkles and pounds that weren’t there when I married my husband 23 years ago, it’s easy for me to get down on myself. Yet, I am extremely grateful that I’m married to someone who still thinks I’m worth fooling around with. Even if we sometimes have to sneak around to do it.

This piece was first published on Kathy's site, My Dishwasher's Possessed!

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