My three-year-old’s favorite toy is a straw cowboy hat that my husband and I got at a Berkshire Hathaway Happy Hour event twelve years ago. We had only been dating a couple of years at the time.
Tonight, as I was rocking our seven month old to sleep in her room, I saw my husband peek his head in, mangled, straw cowboy hat atop his head, and he gave a tired (but amused) smile and closed the door behind him. It was 8:00. He was corralling our toddler to bed. This is our routine almost every night.
Sometimes I’m the one wearing the hat.
There are moments when I miss dating my husband.
I know, I know. If I’m doing it right, I should still be going on dates with him. Well, someone tell COVID that. Or someone tell two full-time working parents with young kids that. Our dates consist of a glass of wine and a Netflix documentary. And more often, our intended dates consist of one of us on the couch unintentionally listening to no less than 60 minutes of Cocomelon on Spotify while waiting for the other who is asleep next to a three-year-old.
This past weekend, we took a drive mid-afternoon. Both kids fell asleep right away and we talked. We laughed. We drove by places that used to be other things and reminisced about our early twenties – two young kids living in Dundee together 11 and 12 years ago.
We moved away from Omaha about 8 years ago and just moved back last March.
All of the things we looked forward to doing upon our return haven’t quite happened due to the pandemic, so sometimes we just like to drive around to remember what is what and learn what’s new.
There’s a lot that’s new. There’s a lot we’d like to explore together. And there’s a lot we’d like to check in on – like Brothers Bar. Is it still as eclectic as it always was or has it gotten an upgrade like some of its neighbors? Just please tell me the green and navy checkered carpet remains.
We’ve thrown around a lot of ideas for what we’ll do once we’re vaccinated or once the pandemic is “over.”
And this past weekend, I think I finally had the perfect idea. We’re not hard to please. I want to visit the Dundee Dell (once it reopens).
I want to feel like I’m 22 again, even if just for a couple of hours. I want to look at my husband and talk to him without being interrupted by the squeak of “STOP TAAAALKING” come from below. I want to be awake and in the same room at the same time for longer than 25 minutes a day. It’s a big dream, isn’t it?
And all the while, I fully realize that the moment we bust out of the house without kids in tow, we’ll quickly find ourselves beaming over the latest thing our toddler said or how big our baby girl is getting.
Even if I miss parts of our more independent lives at 22 and 24, it seems we’re right where we need to be.
In Omaha again. Reminiscing about our past. Sleeping sometimes. Noticing all of the things we have to be grateful for. And dreaming of days exploring and enjoying the place we call home.
Guest Contributor Katie Ping
Katie is an Omaha native who just returned after being away for eight years. She describes herself as a writer, communications professional, total empath, and occasional hiker. She’d rather have deep conversations than watch sports, and she is far too obsessed with the band Hanson (as in MMMBop). Katie is married to her husband and ecology-nerd, Aric, and they have a not-yet three-year-old son, Wyatt, and seven-month-old daughter, Skylar. When they’re not dreaming of National Park travel adventures, they’re strolling their Loveland neighborhood with their brindle greyhound, Archie. She writes at http://moreofwhatmattersblog.com/