Who knew Alice Cooper would do it for me? But there I was, sitting on the couch gleefully watching my husband, Robert, in the second round of our lip sync battle putting his all into pretending to be the subpar power rocker. When he crooned that my lips were “like venomous poison,” I was reminded just how truly, hopelessly mad I still am for this man.
It was a reminder I sorely needed.
I had been feeling increasingly isolated from Robert in the months prior. His early mornings and my late nights left little time for togetherness. What conversations existed centered on responsibilities and were as lively as the tax code. Who doesn’t want more of that? Friction formed between us, which led to some heated moments I never want to relive.
I found myself growing jealous of our two little girls because they had such a different relationship with him. It was warm and jovial. The more I studied it, I realized their relationship was a result of not only how much time they spent together, but what they chose to do during that time.
They laughed, explored and pretended. They bonded. As I watched the effect on their relationship, I became convinced there is very little that rivals the connection formed during play.
That was it. I was determined for Robert and me to get our play on.
When it came time to sign up our girls for our church’s VBS, I dodged requests to be a volunteer like a ninja. I needed to protect those four evenings alone with Robert. I threw myself into planning activities that contained one critical element: be as ridiculously kid-like as much as possible. To my delight, he was game.
We broke out the Slip ‘n’ Slide. He dominated at HORSE. I nailed the trivia challenge thanks to my scary amount of knowledge of the Smurfs. We capped it off with our epic lip sync battle. I matched his rock ballads with a fantastically uncoordinated rendition of “Hangin’ Tough.” In the pictures we captured during our playdates, the joy on Robert’s face is blatant. Our smiles were genuine, our laughs were long. We were ridiculous. And we loved every minute.
Our play prompted conversations about who we were as kids and who we want to be later in life. It released us for those several hours each day from the weight of obligations so that we could just … be. Together.
The only other time I have felt closer to Robert was the day he first slipped the band on my finger. Who doesn’t want more of that?
Our next playdate awaits: roller skating.
Sara Kaden Brunsvold is a recovering full-time corporate communications manager who traded tall buildings with elevators for SAHM-hood with Elli, 6, and Krista, 3, as well as MOPS leadership in Prairie Village, KS. Publishing credits include a Lou Gehrig biography, contributing columnist to the Kansas City Star, and blogger.