18 years ago tomorrow, Amy and I started dating. To put it another way, it’s the day I gave in. It was pretty clear by the time we got to October 28, 1997 that somehow, some way, I wasn’t going to escape her grasp, and I never really wanted to.
Amy and I worked at a PR firm that focused on biotechnology. I was an Assistant Vice President (which basically means I was still there after three years) and she had just started in September. That day, we had a huge announcement. The company we represented, Millennium Pharmaceuticals (for those of my biotech readers) had just signed a deal with Monsanto that had something to do with genetics and agriculture. We worked all day talking to reporters at the major newspapers (yes, those things that used to come to your door every morning) and then had a dinner with investors and analysts that night. Amy was the very entry level account person, so she didn’t get to attend the fancy events.
I’m pretty sure it was raining as I walked home from the subway because I was wearing a greenish trench coat. When I got to my apartment on the Upper East Side, I realized that while I thought I had put my keys in my coat, I had in fact left them at the office and it was a major schlep to go all the way back downtown. My roommates were out. I was going to go to the local diner and get a burger, read the Daily News and wait until one of my roommates got home. How lonely. I called Amy since she lived 5 blocks from me to see if she wanted to hang out instead. No answer (and no texting either people!).
She called back as I was walking to the diner on 79th and 1st Avenue — sure, we could hang out while I waited for my apartment mate to get home. The rest, as they say, is history. We went on our first official date that weekend, moved to San Francisco together eight months later and have never left each others’ side since (and we’ve never had a fight either lol).
Five years ago, our first son, Alex, was born. Two years ago this week our son Ryan was born. They are our life. Amy and I spent the first 13 years together as just us, and our beloved Daisy. We went on vacation. We went to dinner. We did nothing. It was just us. We worked a lot, probably too much, but we loved it. Life was pretty easy in hindsight (though I’m sure it was super hard at the time).
Now, life is still great, it’s just not as easy. I get the “joy” of witnessing the guilt cycle every day for Amy, and I’m sure the same is true for most working moms. Every minute at work is a minute away from the boys. Every minute with the boys is a minute of “not doing her job.” As she often reminds me, there is no solution, and if there were, someone would have written a book about it (sorry, that’s not you Sheryl Sandberg, and what’s up with you supporting Paul Ryan who voted against parental leave by the way?).
And it’s especially hard for us to have time to ourselves, which any couple with children, especially young children, will tell you is crucial. The boys demand our time. Being parents is the greatest thing either of us will ever do and we cherish every moment, but it does strain a relationship.
Last weekend, we escaped. We had two babysitters (not at the same time) watch the boys from Friday to Sunday. We went to Los Angeles. It’s about as far as we’re willing to go on a plane without the boys. We had actually never been there together and I thought it would be fun for Amy to shop a little bit. And she thought I would love to see the Foo Fighters in Anaheim. Everyone wins.
On the flight down to LA, we sat and read magazines. No praying that the boys weren’t too loud or were kicking the seats in front of us. It was dreamy. I asked Amy if she could remember the last time we were both on the same flight, without kids, just us. It took a while to recall.
We had a late lunch at the hotel. We took our time. Conversation flowed. We talked about nothing, we talked about everything. We steered clear of topics we don’t like to talk about like kindergarten for Alex next year. We went to Rodeo Drive just to stroll around. Amy bought a cool pair of boots (and maybe a purse). We had nowhere else to go. We just strolled. I can’t remember the last time we just walked together. We got back to our hotel and watched TV. You can always get sucked into a good Law & Order.
The next morning, Amy slept in passed 9am. I didn’t care. I can’t remember the last time she did that without Alex jumping in our bed to “wake mommy up.” We had a great breakfast at the hotel, making fun of all the people around us (it’s LA after all). Chatting up the waiter about how much we were going to eat. We laughed. We paid attention to each other. It was heavenly.
Later in the evening, we went to see the Foo Fighters. We both wore our concert T-shirts from the last time we went (last month!!). We acted like the kids we used to be. She made fun of me the entire night because I always get anxious about the t-shirt lines being too long and last time I had to miss a song or two and was so upset. We took photos and selfies and photos for other people. We stood the entire time. They opened with Everlong. No one was sick this time. We didn’t have to race home (or even leave early as we have done in the past) to relieve a babysitter. We took Uber so we wouldn’t have to drive in LA traffic. It was glorious.
On the flight home, we held hands during take-off, and smiled at each other when the couple in front of us couldn’t get their kids’ iPads out fast enough. I remarked about how much we miss our boys, and how thankful we were to spend a weekend without them.
We have so little time during our real life to spend with each other that even a short weekend away confirms the most important thing in our relationship.
We don’t just love each other, we actually like each other.
So, happy 18 years Amy. I like you so very much.