Monday, June 13, 2011

An Escape from Kitchen Widowhood

Having a newborn brings into sharp perspective the things in life one should never take for granted, namely sleep, uninterrupted meals, and time with one's spouse. For the last week and a half since our son was born, two of these have become scarce and the other fantastically abundant.

Babies have impeccable timing. Inevitably, I will make the briefest of contact with my bed or the dining room chair when his "Mommy is getting comfortable" radar will go off, and he will scream, face scrunched in misery, until he is fed. It is the extreme good fortune of babies everywhere that they are so adorable; a routine of little sleep and cold meals could only be briefly borne otherwise.

But amidst the whirlwind of starting all over again, there has been a peaceful glow settling about our house, radiating from the constant presence of Chef Matt on a two-week paternity leave. Reality has been temporarily suspended, and as a result, I have not, in the last 11 days, felt rushed, stressed, overwhelmed, vaguely out of control, or lonely.

Our time together as a family is normally pinched into Monday nights and Saturday mornings, shoehorned in around gymnastics and swimming lessons and random weekend work meetings. Thus, two full weeks together has been nothing short of luxuriant. We have no schedule. We have no time limits. We are living like idle rich people, without the accompanying yachts and Gatsby parties.

And I love it. What do I have to do to continue this amazing life? Win the lottery? Keep having babies? Nag Matt to quickly finish his best-selling cookbook so we can be millionaires? This sort of 24-hour togetherness is not normal for anyone, but for us, always scraping to find time to do things other than eat dinner and watch a Disney movie, it has been a beautiful week of the zoo, the children's museum, the library, a backyard barbecue, morning walks, visits with our families, and actual conversations.

On Thursday, Matt goes back to work. We will still have nine weeks of abnormal, until I go back to work, but nothing can quite compare to the brief escape of the past two weeks. The lack of sleep and meal interruptions will continue as we learn to make our newest little man a part of our family, but our time together will diminish and we will go back to missing each other and the comfort that comes with having two parents in the house. Kitchen Widowhood, ever so briefly slumbering, will be back.

So honey, get to work on that cookbook. I sure like having you around.

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