I met my husband in a bar fourteen years ago. I had seen him around playing in a band at the same bar, but we had never interacted prior that night. I went to the bar with a friend who ended up consuming way too much of the good stuff, and found myself looking around for someone to talk to. I noticed Bryan sitting near by reading a book. Who reads a book in a bar? I was definitely intrigued. He was there to see his bandmate perform solo, and I had the rest of the night to kill while I waited for my friend to wind down. We talked until the end of the evening, and then the conversation resumed the next day by instant messenger. A couple of dates later, and I was taking up my spot on a stool near the stage with the other girlfriends. I was “with the band”!
Over the next few years we moved in together, got a cat and a dog, and eventually got married. During that time, our lives revolved around his gigs. (and Disney, but that’s another story for another time) He was gone almost every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night playing solo or in a band, and I was right there with him singing along to covers of Hey ya, Good, and all the Jack Johnson and Dave Matthews songs you can think of. As time wore on, I started dividing the weekends between hanging with him at his gigs and hanging with my friends at other bars. We had a pretty exciting life. Night life at least… during the days we were both working our retail management jobs and planning Disney trips.
People would often ask me if I ever worried about him being out in bars every night. I probably should have been. I had seen the girls hang around the stage waiting for the band to play their requests, and drop their phone number in the tip bucket. But I didn’t worry. I told myself early on that this was our life, and we needed complete trust if we wanted this to work. The foundations of our entire relationship were first, true love (like the really good kind) and second, trust. After all, I enjoyed a certain amount of uncommon freedom as well.
I can remember a time that he cut back on his gigs so we could spend more time together, and I was annoyed because he was interrupting my busy TiVo watching schedule or because I couldn’t go hang out with my girlfriends. We had come to live our lives together and separate at the same time. If I wanted to get up and do brunch with my girlfriends on a Sunday morning, no problem. He wanted to sleep in. If he wanted to go to Denny’s until the wee hours to hang out with the band, no problem. I was sleeping anyway. This went on for several years.
Our lives continued to grow together during this time too. We got married, bought a townhouse, got another dog, and eventually had our first child in the fall of 2011. He continued to play gigs, and I spent my weekends at home with Hayden. To this day, Hayden and I have this super tight bond that I am not sure Bryan understands, because of all the time that it was just the two of us. Hayden and I had our routines. On Friday and Saturday night, Hayden slept in the bed with me until Bryan got home and moved him to his crib. On Sunday mornings, Hayden and I went to Target to let Daddy sleep in. I will forever cherish those days of exclusivity with the little boy that made me a mommy. Yet, I knew the season would and needed to change. This was a time where we had to learn each others ways, and really fall in love all over again.
In March of 2015, we welcomed Brylee to our family. I was finally the #girlmom I was always destined to be, and Bryan had his the daddy’s little girl of his dreams. By this time, Bryan was no longer playing with the band. Instead he had landed a great paying gig with a major downside. This gig was every Friday and Saturday night without exception. On the one or two times he did move mountains to get a weekend off the bar was calling him for help with the sound system. We did our family things on week nights and took our vacations Sunday to Thursday to avoid him missing a gig. I can even remember us hosting a New Year’s Eve party that he had to leave at 8:00pm to get to his gig. I’m still super thankful for this gig, because it helped us buy the house we are in now.
I could tell that Bryan didn’t find as much joy in playing music as he once had. It had started to feel like a job, and he dreaded going. When this gig ended in the fall of 2015 we both felt relief. We were a bit nervous about our finances, but we would finally, after almost a decade of marriage, be together all the time.
Fortunately, the finances worked out ok. Over the last few years, Bryan had been working on completing his bachelors degree and I had been growing my career in human resources. However, going from spending just the evenings after to work together to spending every day together, like all of the time, was a big adjustment. Bryan didn’t care about watching the Bachelor in real time or staying current on Grey’s Anatomy. He didn’t like that Hayden was still sleeping in the bed so much, but this was hard for me to give up. We eventually found our groove, and even started doing at least monthly date nights. We started going to church and making couples friends. We live in the suburbs, and our son plays soccer. We do things like attend the community Easter egg hunt and the Independence Day pool party. We chit chat with neighbors, and do play dates. We live a pretty #basic life, and we love it.
I am reminded of this, because Bryan was asked to play a private party tonight. When he left I wistfully told him to play “Hey Girl” or something fun and think of me. I knew that part of our life would end eventually, but I definitely would have loved to have been there to reminisce about the early days. Things are different these days, both kids are in their own beds and I stayed up to wait for him to come home. It’s no longer a way of life for him to be gone, so I’ll wait up to keep up with our new routine. We usually chat about the day before bed. Then, he works on a crossword and I scroll through Instagram. How times have changed…
There is not a single time that Faithfully by Journey comes on that I don’t think about our lives. How I waited for him while he was out playing gigs, how much trust our relationship needed to thrive, and how in this season we are deeper in love than ever. Life is different now, but we are just where we need to be.