I think the honeymoon was over for Alex shortly after Grace was born. I think it lasted about seven years for me. Some of you may have gathered that he is a little eccentric. I can honestly say that I hadn't noticed just how odd he is until this year. I took the robot building, computer-part hoarding, and electric car obsession in stride, chalking them up to charm and brilliance.
When Alex started graduate school, we knew that it would be a very challenging time for all of us. We knew school would be a temporary challenge, and we still cherish hope that after he is done we will revert to a slightly more relaxed and happy pace of life. But the schooling has had its toll. A small distance had sort of inched its way into our normally very happy and close marriage.
I just started to feel like we were going through the motions, but not really connecting. I wasn't worried about our marriage, because in the back of my mind I kept remembering that this troublesome time was only temporary. I watched Alex help around the house and squeeze in time with the kids on top of school, work, church, and wondered how I could possibly get frustrated or distant with this person, who was so clearly amazing.
Then last weekend Alex's mom volunteered to take the kids for us so Alex and I could do a local hike for an article I was writing. He and I set out on a two hour walk in a beautiful river confluence park near our house. We walked and explored. We caught some local boys who had a lit a fire in an old abandoned building and were shooting target practice with air rifles at candles (That is another story. We did pour water on their abandoned hot coals on our way out. Whew!). We enjoyed the beauty of the park, and inadvertently caught a killer sunset:
We talked as we have not had time to talk in months. Somehow by the end the little hardness that had been forming in my heart softened into a mushy, gooey love for my dear Alex. This easing came as such a relief after all the tension built up over the previous months. I had hardly noticed the tension until it eased, like when you forget to breathe and then notice on the inhale. As we neared the end of our walk, Alex took my arm and paused. He looked deeply into my eyes. He leaned in for a very romantic moment, and then, as our lips met, his phone rang.
It was awesome. I have not laughed so hard in a long time, because that was the quintessential story of our life lately. The honeymoon seems to have ended, but I have no regrets. We are on the sometimes peaceful, sometimes rocky road to The Long Haul. It's no longer a honeymoon, but sometimes it's a picnic.