The two of us, sitting on a bench in a square near Liverpool Street station, watching our girls laughing as they chased each other about. The camera perched on the buggy on self-timer mode, the three bobbly legs of the Gorillapod wrapped around the handle to keep it steady. One moment in time, a brief pause to focus on being just ‘us’, captured and preserved.
So much of married life post-parenthood is about those briefest of moments. The fleeting touch whilst being handed the early morning cup of coffee, the quick glance across the table at breakfast, the hurried kiss when heading off for work. Half-hidden secret smiles when one of our girls says or does something naughty and yet funny at the same time, a whispered “I love you”, the shared look that says “we’re a team”. Making the most of the small windows of time where we can be alone together – whether snuggled up on the sofa together at home while the children are sleeping or making the most of getting the opportunity to have a night out together.
It’s the little moments that create the ups and downs of married life. Disagreements over the small things – dirty dishes left on the counter instead of being put in the dishwasher, socks thrown on the floor next to the laundry basket, not putting down the toilet seat. The unkind words that slip out, spoken out of irritation, frustration or exhaustion. The little day-to-day challenges of parenthood that sometimes threaten to overwhelm. A thousand tiny arrows, leaving pinprick wounds that can start to fester if left unhealed.
It’s the little things that heal. The brief phrases – “thank you”, “I’m sorry”, “I love you.” The tiny thoughtful gestures – the job that gets done without me needing to ask, the loving note left on the fridge, the bath run at the end of a long and stressful day. It’s the moments shared – the smiles, the laughs, the hugs. The moments when we work together and everything seems so much easier as a result. The days where happy memories are created, milestones shared together and celebrated. Those lightbulb moments when I suddenly think “this is what it is all about.”
We are a team, you and me. We’re still the two people that met and fell in love all those years ago. Sometimes we just need to make the most of those brief moments to stop and really look at each other, for just a second, and see the person behind the parent. One moment in time, a brief pause to focus on being just ‘us’, captured and preserved.