I can't believe that it's really going to happen, but it's official. Starting in two weeks, Shell will be working days for the first time since our kids were born. She has worked graveyard shifts for so many years and although I am grateful that we had the benefit of being the only two people to have raised our children, I'm so happy that it is changing now. We never had to put the kids in day care and probably wouldn't have had them in preschool if the school we wanted them in didn't test prior to kindergarten admission. They actually only attended about 4 months of preschool and still passed their admission test with flying colors! They've always come home after school and Shell has always been home with them on days off or when they've been home sick.
We've had many discussions over the years about when would be the right time for her to go to days or even swings. These talks didn't go far when we contemplated what to do with the kids during summer and other school breaks. We couldn't afford to put them in any type of after school or daytime programs and we definitely weren't comfortable with them staying home alone or walking home from the bus stop on their own. However, a shift has occurred in these conversations over the last year. Working nights and not getting a full "night" sleep during the day has started taking a toll on Shell and although we've made it work for a long time now, it has never been easy for us to only see each other for a small amount of time during the week. This became very clear when I started school and working part-time. Before those happened a typical week day looked like this: Shell doesn't get off work until 6am and it takes her about 45 minutes to get home (without heavy traffic), so I'd get up and get the kids moving in the morning. She'd get home between 6:45 and 7 and we'd chat as I finished getting ready. I left with the kids to head to the bus at 7:15. Fifteen to thirty minutes is all the time we had in the mornings to connect and catch each other up or discuss what needed to happen that day. On days that the kids didn't have school, we'd have an extra 10-15 minutes before I had to leave for work. She picked the kids up from the bus at 4:45 and I'd get home around 5:30. We'd prepare and eat dinner, help with homework when needed, and watch some TV before she started getting ready for work around 8. I'd even sit in the bathroom most nights and talk to her while she was in the shower just to be able to cover everything before she left at 8:45.
When I started school and working part-time, many of those evenings ceased to exist. When I am working, I head straight there from my day job and don't get home until after she leaves for work. On those days the only time I see her all day is for those 15-30 minutes in the morning. The nights I had class, I'd go right to school from work and wouldn't get home until after 7.
Needless to say, our weekends were our primary opportunity to reconnect with each other, but they were also the days when we went grocery shopping, cleaned the house, did laundry and everything else that needed to be done. Our only two nights a week together were always expected as the nights we would make love, but that didn't always happen. Many times we were just too tired or the stress of the week would take over and there would be some bickering or arguments and in those cases having sex was the last thing we wanted to do. Mostly though, we're just tired. We have learned the hard way that if we let a weekend pass without making love it makes the following week harder to deal with and if we're not careful it often results in arguments and less patience with each other by the end of the week. This leads to a weekend where now we're not so much tired as we don't want to be intimate. It is a vicious cycle that we've fallen into more times than we'd like to admit. All this to say that the prospect of having the opportunity to make love or even just be able to snuggle up and go to sleep together every night instead of just 2 a week is VERY appealing.
When a position opened up in a different department where she works, Shell was hesitant but after we talked about it she applied. The kids will be 13 this summer and although it means that they'll have to walk home from the bus and be home alone when they're not in school, they won't really be alone. They'll have each other. And even though they argue and annoy each other all the time, they do really well when we leave them to run errands or go out to dinner. My parents live very close and Shell's best friend lives pretty close too, plus it only takes me about 15-20 minutes to get home from work. We're still nervous, but know that once we work out the little things it will be so much better for us as a couple and as a result, for us as a family.
Two weeks from today our lives will change in a huge way and I can't wait!