Yesterday, I spent the day shopping and people watching in Montreal. It's my favorite thing to do here -- people watch. Mostly, I usually notice how folks who live in the city are either very young or empty nesters. Hardly anyone with children chooses to live in the city. Instead, they've opted for the suburbs. Because, I'll admit freely, this is not the most beautiful city in the world, but it does know how to have a good time. I'd guess you'd have to if you had winter eight months out of the year. Where I live, we only have it six months out of the year, so you know I give them some slack.
The other reason I love Montreal, when it's past the time for kids to be up, the television lights up like a Christmas tree with sexual adventures. It's hilarious. It's like there's a timer. I'm American. My country was founded on Puritanism, I get that. It's got that strong Khristian vibe (I use the K because I really believe there are far more believers who have their faith messed up in judgmental and cruel ways than there are actual Christians in the world.). And for some reason, nudity at all really freaks America out. The fact that in this day and age we still have people that think breast feeding in public is some kind of moral outrage really shakes me. You can't order someone to choose life (by denying them any medical opportunity to choose otherwise) and then tell them they can't feed the kid when it gets hungry. And let's face it, babies get hungry at the most opportune time, not provide any family friendly environments and then get all offended by nudity. There's also the truth that most moms really don't want you looking at their boobs either. And the women who stay at home all the time locked in their homes with their children, well, I'm pretty sure every Mom I know will tell you nothing good would ever come of that.
But here, I notice another difference--clothing. At home, the regular day wear is jeans and t-shirts, maybe a hoodie. Everyone's in tennis shoes and flip flops in Illinois, yes, even in the big city. Shopping downtown yesterday, everyone had knee-high, heeled boots, skinny jeans, tight tops with large fashionable sweaters. Their hair was done. They had ample make up on their faces. They looked like they always wore the clothes from the special shops they were going into. I, in my jeans, Nike t-shirt, fuzzy fleece jacket and Nike shoes got that I was -- odd -- in this background. Quite plainly, every woman was dressed very feminine, and none of them had cookie on their shirts.
I point back to the fact that I see very few children here past the infant stage. These folks have disposable income, and holy cow do they look good in it.
The other thing I noticed was how much couples touch here. They're walking down the side walk with arms around each other, holding hands, hand stuffed in the other's back pocket. They stop at stop lights and smile and kiss. They freaking meander.
I don't know about you, but I can't remember the last time MacTroll and I did that kind of stuff. Usually we're on some kind of babysitter time clock. Must get to restaurant. Must get to dessert. Must get to bar. Must get to child. The slow down happens enough for conversation, but not for touching. It can't be a choice, right? There have to be people out there who still meander, even with cookies on their shirts, right? Someone has had to figure out how to have it both ways? Or is that asking too much?
When I got back to the apartment and made myself dinner, I thought about how good it feels when MacTroll gets home. And how hard it is to reconnect with him after a lengthy trip. I'm tired. I've got things I can finally get to because there's another parent in the house. But like X-man does, I also kind of put him in a penalty box from being gone. Our life stops and starts so often that I sometimes feel like I have trouble feeling emotionally bonded with him. I know I love him. But the travel also leads to me feeling neglected, this spouse on the road thing, it's hard, even though it's pretty much all we've ever known. But I have some relief in that I still get excited when we're waiting for him to come through the door, or when X-man and I can meet him at the airport, which we make the effort to do from time to time when it works with bedtime, or after particularly hard single parenting weeks.
I'm really not uptight or frigid, my husband will confirm. But I also don't just see someone I'm attracted to and instantly have that physical need. It takes a warm up. It takes some intimacy. It takes some effort. It takes energy. It takes being able to look at my relationship in a different light sometimes and seeing all the things that do work well in it. And sometimes when I see something I think is missing, I try not to get frustrated. Why not try something different for a while? I've never been one for PDA, but at the same time, I do miss being touched on an affectionate level by another adult.
I hate that I'm getting home tonight only to have MacTroll leave tomorrow. I know he's not happy about it either. But I am excited about seeing my boys. Hopefully, X-man will be able to get to sleep quickly, so MacTroll and I can have some time to ourselves before he flies out tomorrow.