Oh how I love Modern Family! In the most recent episode (*SPOILER ALERT*), Claire and Phil (the mom and dad) are caught in a compromising position (doing it doggy-style) when the kids try to surprise them with an anniversary breakfast in bed.
Which got me to thinking, right after I got engaged to my husband, some idiot said to us, “Congratulations! Did you know that if you put a jellybean into a jar every time you have sex in the first year of your relationship, and take one jellybean out of the jar every time you have sex after the first year, you will die with jellybeans left in the jar?”
Rendered speechless of a witty comeback, we laughed him off nervously, wondering what kind of jerk would say that to a newly engaged couple? Suddenly, my engagement ring felt too tight and I was beginning to look at marriage as a 5-10 year investment. But mad (read: young and foolish) fools we were, we got married anyways. We were going to prove him wrong. It was easy to believe that we could in those days, we were like bunnies then, all it took was a french kiss to get us all hot and heavy. We did it twice daily, at least (!) and we did it everywhere – in the back seat of cars (sorry Dad!), on hikes in the great outdoors, in airport washrooms, in airplane washrooms, in darkened movie theatres, even while driving (sorry everyone!)
Fast forward 3 years and a baby later, we had a 9 month drought (3 pre- and 6 post-baby). After the baby, it took a lot more than a well-intentioned kiss to convince me to drop my drawers. A cesarian scar, the sad realization that my stretch marks were permanent, and the emotional funk that can sometimes accompany the metamorphosis from a woman to a mom, pushed sex right out of my mind. And I would have forgotten about the jellybean comment forever, except for the fact that a friend warned me that as a wife, I needed to give my husband “just a little more sex than he actually needs” to keep him from straying, jiggly belly be damned. But I was a reluctant lover, and beginning to wonder if that idiot was actually right.
Fast forward 5 years and 2 more babies, I quit my job to become a stay-at-home mom, trading my MBA and my consulting career for the good of our children. Making organic purees, organizing play dates, ensuring developmental milestones were met, updating their baby books with precious memories, took precedence over me, my husband and the sack. I’m sure those jellybeans were downright dusty by this point. I was too run down to conjure up a lustful response to a wishful poke in the night so I started to go to bed later and later, long after my early rising husband was sawing logs, too tired to care that he was probably dreaming about show girls. When my husband started to hang out more with his single office mates late into the night, I began to wonder if this was the beginning of the end. I asked my mom, the veteran of a 40+ year marriage, how she made it work with Dad with 5 kids (even though I thought they should have divorced at least twice). She said simply, I think, “your Dad always needed sex.” I say that I think she said this, because she was speaking in Korean at the time and I may have temporarily blanked out at the mental image of my almost 70 year old parents doing it, and doing it more often than me. I doubted that she’d ever heard about the jellybean statistic.
Fast forward to the summer of my 39th year. During a routine hysterectomy, I contracted e-coli unbeknownst to the doctors. For the next 8 days my blood brewed up a big batch of peritonitis, which can be fatal without prompt treatment. My husband and kids came home with a Slurpee for me and found me semi-conscious on the bathroom floor. Over the next 4 days at the hospital, I not only rid my body of the e-coli, but also my pregnancy pounds. Friends told me I looked fantastic, which is really very terrible to say to someone who nearly died, but it was true. Madonna, bless her 50 year old heart (and rock hard abs) inspired me to believe that with this little unintended head-start, I could bring sexy back (well, I guess I should thank Justin Timberlake also). I mean what was I saving my body for anyways? Definitely not for science. Both my husband and I started going to the gym, we got a personal trainer, joined numerous boot camps, ran a couple of half marathons, tried out a home delivery food service, and while my weight stayed (mostly) down, my libido went up, and the rest as they say, is history. As we find ourselves somewhere in our 18th year together, by my calculations, at our current pace we should empty that jellybean jar in about 5 more years. As I’m sure, will Phil and Claire.
That guy was obviously a ding dong. Here’s hoping we all enjoy a jelly bean tonight!