Zach and I have been together for 8 years and even though we've only been parents for 3 and a half of those years, it's hard to remember what it was like before we had kids. What did we do with our time? Who were we? I can barely remember what is was like when it was just us two. Which is crazy because it was just us for more than half of our relationship. When we were just a duo, people always referred to us as "Kristen and Zach", very rarely one or the other. We were a unit. One came with the other. Almost from the day we met, we were inseparable. We were always hanging out, singing together, goofing off together, studying together, doing ministry together. We've always been a team, even when we were "just friends". Now that we have kids, we're not "Kristen and Zach" anymore, but "The LaValleys", which is equally as awesome, but still kind of strange to get used to. I don't, for a second, wish it was still just the two of us, but I do miss those days of having nothing else going on but our relationship. We had fun and we loved to love on each other.
It's funny how things change and your priorities shift when you have a few kids running around. All of a sudden, I don't really care that we haven't really celebrated our anniversary in a few years, or that we don't always have extra money to dote on each other. I don't care that we didn't get each other anything for Christmas because all of our gift cards and Christmas cash went to new clothes for the boys. I used to put so much stock in tangible displays of love, but now that we're here, now that I see how amazing being a parent is, my ideas on love have completely shifted.
Not that Zach and I don't take care of our relationship and love on each other...we still do. It's just different now. As a young woman and a newlywed, I thought loved looked like this :
I used to think love was all about late night coffee dates and talking until three in the morning. I thought it was expensive gifts and hand written notes and songs written for me and sung by candlelight. Chocolate and flowers and public displays of affection. Now I know it looks a little like that, but a lot like sneaking a kiss here and there and holding off on late night conversations because we really just need to sleep. It looks like Zach buying me a candy bar on his way home from work and letting me eat it in the closet so I don't have to share. It looks like cooking dinner when I don't feel like it, and being excited for each other when we get awesome opportunities, even if it means more time away from each other. It looks like diaper changes and tossing screaming babies back and forth, and being an incredible parental team. Because these days, our love looks a lot like this :
And I like it that way.