It's not often that Rob gets to pull one over on me. Not to toot my own horn, but I'm pretty sharp; not much gets by me. I'm on the lookout for surprises-in-the-making, not because I want to ruin the fun, but because I hate being out of the loop. If there's a loop, I'm pretty good at finding it and forcing my way in.
So you can imagine Rob's delight (and my shock) when he informed me on Monday night that he had already arranged to take the next day off (extending our long weekend into a really long weekend), and that my mother was in on it and would be taking Westley for the afternoon so Rob and I could go to the movies. The last time Rob really surprised me was before we were married when he flew out to visit me at school for Valentine's Day (and all of my friends were in on the secret and no one told me)...in 2004! And the funny thing? Yesterday's random-day-off-work and no-real-reason date was the better surprise.
I've written before about how Rob's and my relationship is stronger now that we're parents. We go on more dates now than we did when we were "dating." With Westley in the picture, our time alone has become so much more valuable, because there's so little of it. On nights when we really like each other, Rob and I stay up way too late, and end up feeling awful and sort of weirdly hung-over in the morning. Because going to bed means ending the day. Ending that coveted time between our son's bedtime and our eyes closing when we get to be together, just us. His and Hers.
As Rob was getting out of the shower on Tuesday morning, the phone rang. We both ran for it; we were sure we knew who it was. Rob got there first, and his "Oh, good!" confirmed what I'd suspected (and desperately hoped): the wait was over. After four days of labor, baby Kaylee Jean was here! Born on Labor Day, of course. (I guess when your mother is a clown and your father is a comedian, you're literally born with a sense of comedic timing.)
Rob and I gushed into the phone like crazy-happy people, told Gabe we loved him and Amanda and we'd see them when they were ready. We spent the morning playing with Westley and doing the prep-work on some food for the new family. I felt that same twinge of useless guilt I always feel leaving Westley when I tucked him in for nap and handed the baby monitor to my mother. But there was something else there, too. Another kind of guilt. With Gabe and Amanda and their new parenthood so overwhelming my thoughts, I had the distinct sense that Rob and I were getting away with something. Playing hooky from parenting.
My guilt over going out alone with Rob while our friends and their newborn were still recovering in the hospital caught me by total surprise. Maybe because I know that things are getting easier for us (more or less) and things are about to get much, much harder for them, it seems wrong to flex my freedom a little. Gabe and Amanda won't be able to go on a surprise movie-date for a while. It won't be just the two of them, even for a few hours at night.
I know they'll get through it all. And I hope when they find themselves on the other side of this impossibly challenging phase of their relationship, they like each other better. There are all kinds of surprises that come with having a child. One of the best is discovering that you like the two of you even more than you did when it was only ever just the two of you.