Lately I’ve heard lots of talk about the flu. Kids especially, I’ve heard, are passing bugs. This makes the flu sound like something you can track and predict — kid A shares Play-Doh with kid B, wipes nose and boom! Kid B is sick. Maybe someone like a doctor or nurse would confirm this is how germs are spread. But my personal experience says that’s not actually how the flu works.
What happens is that kid A shares germy Play-Doh with my kid, but those germs don’t immediately trigger the flu. Oh no, those germs lie in wait. Not just for hours. Not just for weeks. Sometimes those germs will wait an entire month, and then as soon as those germs sense Andrew and I are dressing up in something besides jeans, the moment those germs hear the doors of the babysitter’s car closing, the germs activate. It’s time, boys, the lead germ says. Then they throw out their spinning ninja germ hands and start wreaking havoc on the inside of my child’s body.
Around the time I spray perfume, the child will start looking woozy. It’s when I walk into the living room for the big reveal of Mom Wearing Eyeliner that the child will bend over and throw up on my shoe.
This experience definitely has a little something to do with my current definition of romance. My current definition of romance can be explained by the pile of clean laundry that’s sitting on the dryer — a pile that has been there so long it could also be referred to as a backup closet. I have witnessed every member of our family who is old enough to walk go to that mountainous stack and extract a piece of clothing then walk away without even a thought of putting away the stack.
Right now romance is not complicated; it’s actually very simple. If someone (and I’m not naming names, Andrew) put away all that laundry, if suddenly the top of the dryer was free and clear of socks to sort and shirts to fold, my heart would start pounding like I was the heroine of a Harlequin romance novel. It’s possible — I can’t say for sure, but it is likely — I would even get weak in the knees.
This is definitely an evolution from the time when wowing each other was first and foremost on the list. In the last few years I have frequently marveled at the snow job I pulled off back when we first met and romance was the name of the game. All those perfectly orchestrated outfits. The worldly jokes. The woman who could bat her lashes at just the right time.
It’s a far cry from the woman who has been known to wear one pair of yoga pants so long that when they come off, they remain in downward dog in the corner of the closet. Quite honestly, the last time I batted my eyelashes it was because I was trying to keep from falling asleep. At 9 p.m.
But then last week I was talking to a friend who is considering having a third baby.
“Do you think I’m crazy?” she asked. “We’re finally able to go on dates and travel, and now we’re going to have another baby… just when it was getting back to normal.”
I thought about this long and hard. The easy answer was, “Yes, you’re crazy. I can’t wait to be back to normal.”
But the truth is that I don’t think it’s so crazy. I kind of like the excitement of seeing where normal may go. One day my definition of romance might be the Depends he picks up for me at the store then leaves on my vanity right next to my denture case and favorite perfume from way back in 2015.
If we’re lucky, we’ll find out.