My husband’s alarm went off at 6 a.m. and he snoozed it (because he’s married to me, and I taught him the luxurious art of the snooze), then rolled over and snuggled in close.
This is one of my most favorite things about my husband: He loves me so much when he’s mostly asleep. He will often get in bed at night before I do, and even if he’s been completely asleep for a full hour, when I finally crawl into bed he will instinctively know, roll over, snuggle me up, and whisper that he loves me. (I, on the other hand, have no idea what happens with him after I fall asleep. Maybe he actually snuggles me all night long? Maybe he sleeps in the guest room? Maybe he gets up at 3 a.m. and does yoga? I know nothing. My nighttime radar is reserved exclusively for the six and under set).
But this morning was a little bit more than your average cuddle, if you know what I mean. (I mean boob grab, obviously). If there’s anything I’ve learned about sex in the last eleven years of marriage, it’s this: when I’m even a teeny bit interested in the sex, we need to go for it. There is a lot of talk these days about enthusiastic consent, and that’s a concept I really believe in. Truly. But if my husband and I were only getting down when both parties were enthusiastically consenting, we might only have one child.
In this case, my consent was pretty solidly in the yeah-I-could-be-into-this zone. No children peed their beds the night before, and I had at least six consecutive hours of sleep, so this groping was well received.
By now you’ve realized that I’ve written both “boob grab” and “groping”. We are only two paragraphs in—the foreplay has begun. You’ve shifted your phone so that no one can see the screen.
This isn’t Fifty Shades of Grey.
I’ve been married for eleven years and have three children. You can relax and keep drinking your coffee. My sex isn’t shield-your-phone-screen sexy. Alright sometimes it is, but not today. Today it was not.
Today it was certainly not.
We were six-seven minutes into our general early a.m. routine (eleven years of marriage, remember … the choreography doesn’t change that much) when—
I heard a slam, a shuffle, a pair of little feet coming down the hall. The door creaked open.
“Mommy?” my son’s raspy voice called.
I pulled the comforter over my shoulders.
“Mason? Honey, you need to go back to bed.” I whispered loudly, hoping to intimate that we were all still very much asleep.
At this point, my husband and I were kind of past the point of no return, if there is such a thing. I wasn’t really in the position to get up and walk this child back to his room. In other words, the car had already parked in the garage. Let’s just say one of us (both of us) would be super bummed if those tiny feet crossed the threshold of the bedroom.
Spoiler: the feet crossed the threshold.
“I know it’s not 7 o’clock yet …” my son’s voice whispered into our darkened room (thank you, blackout shades). “I’m just going to sleep on your floor for a little bit. I brought my blanket.”
“Mason,” my husband said nicely, but firmly. “I need you to go play Legos in your room right now.”
My son took a step closer to the bed. “I’m still tired. I can just sleep right here. I’ll be really quiet.”
I shimmied the covers up closer to my head as my husband continued to encourage our child out of the bedroom. He was so sweet and sleepy I felt bad kicking him out. Okay, not that bad, but a little bad. In other circumstances, I would have let him come into our bed, but, as you know, we had been in the throes. Our bed and our room were now very much off limits.
“Please, mommy. I’m so lonely in my room.”
Ugh. Children are so manipulative.
I’m not going to lie: I nearly bribed him. I was this close to passing that child an iPad and sending him down the hall. I almost told him that if he left our room at that moment I would let him go get a handful of chocolate chips from the pantry, but that seemed extreme and realistically these weren’t precedents I wanted to set. It was still barely dawn after all.
Thankfully, I held my tongue about the chocolate chips, and my husband was able to pump up the early morning Lego-fun. Mason surrendered and went back to his own room, closing the door without waking up his sisters.
I was (miraculously) still mostly in the mood.
By the way, let’s all pause for a second to acknowledge the merits of spooning. It is absolutely the least awkward way to be caught in the act. Twelve years from now when my son is sitting around in his dorm room and one of his friends mentions how gross it is to walk in on his parents having sex, our son will not be able to reference this particular moment. “I never walked in on my parents having sex,” he might say. “They did cuddle a lot … oooooh.” This is the best time and place for him to have this realization because I won’t have to ever know about it. What a win for both of us. Three cheers for spooning.
Now back to the sex.
Ten years ago this interruption would have been a pretty significant buzzkill. Ten years ago the sound of a trash truck rumbling down the street was a buzzkill. In our early married years, awash with time and energy, sex could be so sexy. Candles, massages, lingerie. We had sex on the couch. In the day. Sex before kids was filled with enthusiastic consent. In those early years any moment that derailed or distracted me from complete enthusiasm muted my mood, and that was fine; we could try again whenever we wanted to.
Meanwhile, sex after kids is like a top-secret mission. We’re sequestered in our bedroom under the shroud of darkness, making up excuses for why we literally cannot accept visitors and/or get up to make breakfast. Post-kid sex has an intermission featuring an in-depth description of a Lego quad-cycle.
But truthfully, if we weren’t going to get after it then—intermission and all—well, who knows when the opportunity would come up again. We’re busy and tired and have small children. My husband works constantly, and lately I’ve had to clean up a lot of urine from a two-year-old who routinely rolls her eyes and mutters “I don’t like you.” (#ThingsThatAreNotForeplay). I want to take advantage of the moments as they come to us, and it turns out that seeing my husband passionately exclaim the merits of playing with Legos in the early morning light was actually very attractive. He didn’t just want our child to leave so he could go back to sleep or because the clock didn’t read 7 a.m., and we have to follow the rules. No, he wanted to be with me at the start of his day.
After eleven years of marriage, three kids, not much sleep, and a long list of things we could have gotten out of bed and tackled that morning, he still picked me, and I picked him back. And that’s pretty sexy.