I used to be a whole lot cooler...

   The other night our little family of four was just finishing up filling our bellies at a local pizza chain.  Following a trip to Home Depot and before a stop at Costco on the way home, there we sat in the thick of the suburbs- at a strip mall for dinner.  My sweet husband always takes the girls to the arcade after we're done eating and leaves me at the table to have a minute.  It's amazing how five minutes to myself can change help improve my attitude in those exhausting last three hours of the day.  Even if I'm just sitting at a table stacked high with dirty plates and crumpled napkins while apologizing to the busboy for the dropped morsels in a two-foot radius surrounding the high chair, it feels good to only worry about myself for a fleeting moment. 

   We had just finished dessert and I was cleaning the last few smudges of pizza and cinnamon rolls off of the girls' faces and fingers.  As usual, they were squirming and protesting, eager to get their little paws all over the 3000% profit-margin candy from "The Claw" game.  In all the commotion of my futile attempt to send clean girls into a filthy arcade, I made a cataclysmic mistake.  Baby wipe in hand, I stood up to let the girls pour out of the booth and watched as my husband raised to follow them.  Our eyes locked and I gave him a satisfied grin that said, "Yay!! We made it through the meal without an earth-shattering meltdown from either child and devoid of any snide comments being discreetly flung across the table out of pure exhaustion! Amazing!"  As I peered into his eyes, I noticed a little leftover on the corner of his mouth.  Without thinking and in slow-motion, my right hand began to lift.  As if ticking up the gigantic hill of a rollercoaster, it passed my hip and then my waist, was soon above my shoulder and past his chin only to SSSSWIIIIIPE.  Oh.  No.  I just wiped food off the face of my almost forty-year-old, remarkably muscular and exceedingly handsome husband with....... a........baby wipe.  Oh.  The horror.

Buy this bumper sticker here.

   Strangely enough, he didn't react.  He was probably consumed with the need to catch up with them before they were too far out of reach and in danger of being kidnapped at a busy family restaurant.  Or worse, he was worried they would suffer a moment of disappointment when there was a delay between their outstretched hands being met with a token.  (He spoils our girls.  I love it...most of the time.) 

   Without a pause to so much as shoot me a look that says, "Really?!", he kept walking and the three of them disappeared behind the little wall that separates the chaos of an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet at peak serving time from the insanity of the tiny cutthroat ninjas ready to annihilate each other at air hockey. 

   I sat there, stunned.  "Is this really what we've come to?  Me scrubbing his face with a baby wipe?!" (groan...crumbling)  My first instinct was to stick a cigar in his mouth, a glass of scotch in his hand, and shove him on the next flight to Vegas to compensate for emasculating him.  Though I felt he hadn't noticed, I was still worried this was one of those inconsequential moments that, when stacked on top of one another over the years, becomes absolutely consequential in the form of a mid-life crisis.  After all, parenting is tough on a marriage.  In just a few, short years we have gone from this...

Country-dancin' at one of our favorite bars.

to this...
"Discussing" why our child is the only one who won't cooperate during swimming lessons.
   But then I remembered one of our trips to the pool a few years ago and couldn't help but smile.  We had just pulled up to the local rec center to take the girls swimming.  My husband and Little Girl went ahead to the front doors while Baby Girl and I headed back to the car because I forgot something, of course.  I was a few steps behind him as I entered the facility and witnessed the following exchange:

   He is dragging himself up to the counter to check in, weighed down with multiple bags on each shoulder including an Ariel swim bag (that is overflowing with pink goggles and Disney princess towels) and a pink camouflage diaper bag (which has a pink panda baby toy hanging from the strap).  Little Girl is 2 at the time and is hopping and darting behind him in her glittery, pink flip-flops and her tutu bathing suit.  As he gets closer to the bubbly, pretty young girl working the front desk, I notice she is watching him closely with a smile on her face.  At first, her expression says, "Oooh, he's hot," and then it quickly changes to an, "Awwww...," as she tilts her head and puts her hand over her heart.  She must've noticed Little Girl and/or the bags.  He picks up on her non-verbal cues, smiles, shrugs, and explains, "I used to be a whole lot cooler than this."  (The picture on the right is Little Girl literally being dragged from the pool that day.)

   Back at my table littered with pizza crusts and tomato-sauce fingerprints, I laughed even louder and harder than I did when I first heard him say that to her.  You never know what kind of parent your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse is going to be until it's too late.  Yeah, you can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?  My husband and I used to philosophize about parenting when we were only dating.  Needless to say, few of our philosophies have transitioned into actual practice.  This is partly because each child needs different forms of discipline and affection, but also because people who don't have kids have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to parenting.  I feel so fortunate that we made the shift from being the barfly, party couple high-rollin' in Vegas, to the dedicated, fun-loving parents strollerin' around Sea World. 

   The other day marked our five-year wedding anniversary, though we've been together for over seven years.  In that time, we have been so many places, accomplished so many things, and dredged through some hard times together.  We may not be "the cool kids" anymore, but I'd like to think we're pretty cool parents.  Here's to listening to "Lite FM" radio in the car and our wildest nights spent watching Saturday Night Live together.  Happy anniversary, babe.  I love you. 

December 2004

February 2012


  1. I think if you had licked a napkin and then wiped his mouth, it may have been emasculating. But baby wipes are acceptable. :)

  2. So true! My husband and I have just completed our first year of parenting. Our baby girl is the best thing ever, yet we have many moments of snippyness at each other that we never ever would have dreamed possible. Sigh.

    1. Isn't it crazy? I blame it on sleep deprivation. *Cheers* to y'all for making it through the first year!! Those first months are tough! My husband and I try to find the humor in our arguments as parents now. It works...sometimes. ;)