Posts tagged relationships
Behind closed doors

We have been introducing our newly five-year-old daughter to the bike, and, to put it mildly, it has been trying.  Never mind that the training wheels are still on the the bike, the terrain is smooth and flat, and the distance we are covering is short--we may as well be asking our child to bike Mount Everest.  Over the past few weeks, we have seen so many tears and screams. 

I know all of the advice: keep the bike rides short and fun.  Do not get into a battle of wills.  Be patient; every kid is different.  Easier said than done.

We live in a very bike-unfriendly area.  Our neighborhood is practically a mini mountain, and we have no sidewalks, which means our rides are limited to our driveway, or we must venture out to parks and empty parking lots for practice.  That means that all of our bike rides are public, and I am keenly aware of how many eyes are scrutinizing our parenting decisions.

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Lazy friendship marriage

Lazy friendship marriage--it's so easy to slip into.  You're extra tired after an especially hard few weeks at work, and you turn out the lights with a quick peck on the lips.  Your dinner conversation becomes all about calendars and kids' schedules and home maintenance.  When you do have a few free moments together, you sink in front of the TV or schedule one of the appointments you have been putting off because it is so hard for you both to find the time.

You're a great team, fantastic roommates, awesome business partners.

But a marriage?  Where did you, the husband and wife, go?

I could talk about all sorts of ways that our daughter's sudden arrival made our marriage stronger, but the quick and easy response is that we started going on dates again.  We put the babysitter on the calendar, and we prioritized our marriage.

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Can you overuse "thank you?"

Dan and I have an unspoken rule that we thank whoever cooks dinner each night.  No matter what the cook prepares, whether it is creating a four course anniversary meal from scratch or reheating leftovers in the microwave, the other says "thank you" at the end of dinner.  It seems, after all, only like good sense.  One person worked hard(ish) on meal preparation.  One person benefited from not having to do the work.  But one Thursday night when we both were scrapping off leftover pasta scraps from our latest leftover meal, I found myself asking, "Do we say thank you too much?"

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Want to get to know your neighbors? Get a dog.

When I lived in Nashville, I once left a note for the girl who lived in the apartment beneath mine, asking if she had constructed the compost bin outside her door and if I could add some of my food scraps.  She wrote me a very nice note back, saying that no, she did not make the compost bin, and had no idea how it ended up on by her door, but we never spoke again. 

When Dan and I lived in a planned community townhouse, we would walk down to our shared mailboxes and tentatively glance around at any neighbors who happened to be outside.  Most actively avoided making eye contact.

When I grew up in a traditional single family home in Alabama, my family would remark on how un-neighborly everyone was.  No one was downright rude (okay, maybe that one fellow down the street was, who always gave us the stink eye when we would pass by his house and wave), but no one was familiar and friendly either.  Those who lived near us would say hello and smile, but--southern stereotypes be damned--they were not the types to get lost in conversation on the sidewalk or knock on your door asking to borrow a cup of sugar.*

So, when Dan and I moved into our first single family home last year, I wondered: Was chatting with your neighbors a relic of the past?  Did neighborhood kids actually play in one another's yards anymore?

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