I learned to ride a motorcycle because I’m a cheapskate…
Not because the gas mileage is better, although if I could figure out a way to get all three of my kids on mine, I’d sure use it more often. It’s because my husband paid for a slot in the rider course and then found that he didn’t need the class. The college wouldn’t refund the money, and I wasn’t about to chalk it up as a loss. So, with a little urging from him, I showed up for class.
I freely admit the prospect terrified me. Riding in a Jeep with the top down is one thing… A motorcycle with no protective barrier at all is quite another. But I passed the class and got my license, and my husband bought me a bike. And for the first year, I was nervous every time I got on it. But my husband kept encouraging me and I kept riding, and the fear slowly went away.
Over time, I discovered that riding a motorcycle includes perks that I never saw coming: a sense of accomplishment from stepping out of my comfort zone, improved defensive driving skills, and a whole new circle of friends. I also scored a vast new wardrobe of boots, a leather jacket, and a Harley t-shirt or two. (As an aside, you still qualify for the clothing program if you ride on the back of someone’s motorcycle.) More importantly, it has become something my husband and I can enjoy together.
During one of our date night outings, we discovered that our shared interests were few, and that our conversations revolved entirely around the kids and our home. He had several hobbies, like fishing and hunting, that I wasn’t interested in. And I just didn’t have any hobbies. I was petrified of becoming empty-nesters who had nothing in common outside of the children. Motorcycles gave us something to enjoy together.
Your “thing” with your spouse doesn’t have to be motorcycles. It can be anything the two of you can enjoy together that doesn’t require your kids’ participation. It’s obviously ok to include the kids in your hobby, but choose something you can enjoy when they are out on their own. The point is to have a “thing.” Have more than one. But find something.
As you do, you’ll rediscover your friendship with your spouse, and your kids will see the importance of shared interests between spouses. They’ll also be reminded that, much to their own chagrin, they are not the center of anybody’s universe (a lesson better learned in our homes than in the cold, uncaring world.)
As my youngest daughter turns 5 today, I am reminded again that the children won’t live here forever, but my husband will. I’m so thankful that we have found something fun to share, and that I have rediscovered the importance of having hobbies.
The icing on the cake: my cheapskate tendencies have finally paid off.