I wrote this letter to my husband on our way back from our couple's vacation, a luxury not everyone takes, but one everyone probably should.
I used to like to dance with you. Do you remember? You were never much of a dancer, but sometimes, in the early years, when we were dating, you'd humor me on the dance floor for awhile because you knew I loved it. Then we moved to the suburbs and the sound of our baby crying became the new "house" music and there was no where for us to dance anymore, but up and down the stairs for burp cloths and baby bottles. And that was beautiful music, wasn't it? I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world, but it was a different kind of rhythm than we were used to, a cadence that wasn't filled with just you and me anymore.
I was overwhelmed, but after maternity leave, I went back to my job, and I thought I needed to work really really hard to prove I could do it - work full-time and raise a baby. That very same year I won my first all-expense paid trip through the company. I'd never understand how much it would mean to get away with you like that until years later.
On our most recent trip to the Bahamas, with the casino bringing us some luck, and the night winding down, you asked me if I wanted to go to the club upstairs and dance with you. You never have to ask me to dance, just so you know, I'll always say yes. We danced the night away, and when you looked at me like "that", the way you used to, before we were stressed, two children ago, when we had all the time in the world, I thought to myself - oh there you are, I've missed you.
Our rare date nights are nice, and I don't discount them, but they're not quite the same as going away. We aren't able to stay out too late, because, there're babysitters and we can't drink too much because there are next-day sporting events and hangovers to contend with, and we never really do wind all the way down, do we?
That's why it's so important to do this, even if we don't have someone paying our way, and even if our family is too busy, and even when we're feeling too guilty to leave our kids for a few days, we really should, because I know there're weeks that have gone by when we're running so much that we barely look at each other. And that is bad. It's really bad, and I'm afraid we'll lose each other in the shuffle if we don't carve out a minute or two to find those lost expressions, the ones that remind us who we are as a couple. I don't want to forget the way you used to look at me, and I don't want you to forget how much I love you because you can't remember either.
I'd fallen asleep on your shoulder on the boat ride home from our snorkeling excursion, and when I woke up, I noticed the corners of your hairline have flecks of gray now. When did those get there? Don't get me wrong, it looks good on you, but it made me think we're growing old together and I haven't taken the time to notice. What else have I missed? I want to pay closer attention. How are you? I hope you're doing well, I thought. I hope you feel good inside like I do with the sun and the ocean breeze lulling us into an afternoon nap we couldn't otherwise take.
It was quiet when we got back to the hotel and I asked you what was wrong and you said nothing, isn't the quiet nice? And we sat there like that - sleepy, happy, brain shut off in a way that doesn't seem possible anywhere else, and so very ready to get back to our kids, but happy we took the time to leave them. And right then, I knew we'd always be okay, just as long as we keep doing this every once and a while. And just as long as you never stop asking me to dance.
Remember...I'll always say yes.
Author of women's fiction and domestic thrillers