It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Love is lovelier

…the second time around. It really is.

And the honeymoon is…different.

Because, hey, all jokes to the contrary, the honeymoon is not all about the hotel room. Cetainly not when you’ve been living together almost ten years already. A little of the wonder of a three-day romp has worn off. Not that it isn’t fun and all, but we can do that any time. Okay, so with kids barging around the house it’s often more a three-minute romp, but a romp is a romp, and we’ve had years of romping already. (And, lord willing, ahead…)

So. Sex we can do any day. Unlike all the other exciting things we did.

Like daily phone calls home to Emma, who was staying home alone for the three and a half days. Well, technically? Technically her brother (he’s 18) was home too, but what with the night shift and the computer, the boy’s essentially invisible these days.

Like chatting with the contractor. Who was fixing my leaky front porch. Which was leaking because of wet rot (on my side), and dry rot (on my neighbour’s side), a poorly-applied flashing (my side), and CARPENTER ANTS!!! EVERYWHERE!!!

And chatting with Emma. “Mom? Mom, do we have any Raid? And where is it? Because they’ve discovered a nest of ants, and they’re EVERYWHERE!!!”

… chatting with my neighbour (Hiya, Frank!). “And then they hit the main nest. They were EVERYWHERE!!! BILLIONS of them up there. I’ll be having nightmares about that for a week.”

To which I could only offer my heartfelt sympathy and the consolation that thank GOD our house is brick, and we don’t need to worry about the whole thing coming down around us. And the further consolation that thank GOD I wasn’t there to see it. Which Frank didn’t find all that comforting…

…Or, upon finding out that the quaint horse-drawn carriages they had everywhere in the city cost EiGHTY DOLLARS for half-an-hour, deciding all the Romance in the World wasn’t worth eighty dollars for half-an-hour.

…speaking French. For which I needed Emma, but had only myself and M. Gosselin’s long, long, long-ago French classes. Fractured grammar, limited vocabulary, and no recollection of gender whatsoever (none of these being M. G’s fault) meant that lots of creativity was required.

“Excuse-moi. Cette mot: ‘framboiserie’? C’est-ce que ces?” She taps the menu and gazes enquiringly at the slim, dark waiter. (They were all slim and dark. You don’t get to be a waiter in Old Quebec if you’re not slim and dark. Or maybe they just don’t make fat blond Frenchmen.)

“Framboiserie? It mean…raspberries.”

“Je sais. Framboise est ‘raspberry’, oui, mais, ‘framboiserie‘?” She stretches out the adjectival-sort-of-bit at the end of the word with huge question mark in her voice.

“It mean… raspberry.”

Okay. We’re stuck. “You say Po-TAH-to, I say po-TAY-to.” Framboise is raspberry. I knew that. But ‘framboiserie’ suggests “raspberry-ish”, or something. Try as we might, we can’t narrow the gap. “Bah. Je n’ai pas les mots. Je prends le gateau du fromage, s’il vous plait.”* So. I had the gateau du fromage. Sans les framboises. It was delish.

(In fact, given the huge population of tourists, virtually every person we came in contact with spoke much better English than I do French. To my chagrin. This exchange was a rare exception to that rule.)

… you take time out on a second honeymoon. You get pooped out with all the strolling and touristing and the hotel-rooming? (I didn’t say we didn’t do any of that – just that it’s not the whole point and sole activity.) Not a problem! You sit on a park bench and pull out the books which you had with you. (OF COURSE you did. Because it’s your SECOND honeymoon.) And you have a companionable and restful half-hour, reading, idly exchanging tidbits from your books or commenting on the scenery at intervals. Lovely.

… and while sitting on the bench, you realize, with an uprush of love and gratitude, just how much you love how thick his hair is, and the grey at the temples, and way his eyes crinkle at the corner when he smiles, and how well, how perfectly well, you fit together – physically, emotionally, conversationally.

… you appreciate the break more. No kids! No jobs! No routine! No pets! No leaky porches! NO CARPENTER ANTS!!!

… you experience the wonder of spending every penny you have (well, that you have with you because you budgetted for it) ON YOURSELF. On nothing but what YOU want. Not the kids. Not back-to-school. Not “my toes hurt in these shoes so you can’t have that blouse, mom.” Just ME, ME, ME. Wow. (Except for the gifts for the kids. Of course. But I’m a MOM. Buying stuff for my kids brings me pleasure, so it’s almost like buying stuff for myself, right? And because I can’t stop myself. It’s what mothers do.)

… you can laugh at yourselves because even in a strange city hours from home, you manage to find yourself at a Second Cup having a chiller at the same time you do every Saturday. Even though it wasn’t a Saturday. Because that’s what you DO on your days off together.

… you take huge satisfaction, complete with little bubble-ups of utter joy, in just being together. No matter where. Just the two of you, happy because the other one is there. And, with a first marriage each, the experience of friendships that have come (and gone), and almost a decade of cohabitation behind you, you do NOT take that for granted.

At all.

It is lovelier.

*Bah. I don’t have the words. I’ll have the cheesecake, please.
** Without raspberries.

August 31, 2007 Posted by | Canada, holidays, my kids | 8 Comments