On Valentine’s Day, we fed the kids early and sent them off to watch a movie while we shared a special dinner and talked. OK, so we got a few words in edgewise here and there around baby Matthew’s escalating demands for food, but it was still Valentine’s Day and we were only shouting over one small voice.
We’ve always talked a lot. That’s how we got married: we would stand outside Jacinta’s dormitory until curfew, just talking and talking, and I remember thinking to myself one night as we stood by the fence, “Gee, I could just do this forever.” We got married so there would be no curfew and no reason to stop talking.
Sheldon Vanauken describes how a married couple can suffer “creeping separation” if they don’t share enough of life. It takes shared experience, and shared thoughts about shared experience, to knit two souls together:
That way we shall create a thousand strands, great and small, that will link us together. Then we shall be so close that it would be impossible – unthinkable – for either of us to suppose that we could ever recreate such closeness with anyone else. And our trust in each other will not only be based on love and loyalty but on the fact of a thousand sharings – a thousand strands twisted into something unbreakable.
Once Jacinta and I had several kids and I had a full-time job, it was no longer possible to do most things together, but we would still share our entire day by talking it over. We even clocked it: once the kids go to bed, we need a full two hours of conversation to feel like we’re re-connected at the end of the day.
Life is complicated now. We have a baby with no consistent bedtime and older kids who stay up and want attention in the evening. Home schooling fills Jacinta’s day, and earning our daily bread fills mine. Looks like it will be that way for a long time. We love every beautiful person in our house and every minute with them, but we miss our long, quiet conversations.
Some people dream of retiring to Florida, or of traveling when the kids are gone, or of pursuing a “bucket list.” My dream for our old age is a dream of time—time to talk with Jacinta, to reconnect at the end of life.