Smalltalk, Marriage and the Way We Walk

Written by Emily

He let out a colossal sigh, “Can’t we just make small talk?”

Wait. What?! Small talk?! The worst kind of talk? The kind of talk that makes my chest tighten the first few weeks of preschool drop off? The awkward kind of talk I muscle through before I really like someone? The kind of talk that we both failed at miserably the first time we dated? Why?

I gasped and stuttered kind of like my worst smalltalk nightmare and backpedaled out of the kitchen.

While I backpedaled I took a good long look at his face in case this was the last time I saw him before I wrote up the divorce papers.

Death by small talk.


Later that day, I took my littlest for a walk. The sun was finally shining while Mother Nature taunted us with impending spring. Sylvie was desperate. She whimpered by the door like a forlorn puppy, adorable and heartbreaking.

It was time.

When we were out in the neighborhood, I don’t think she walked once. Not one time. She may have sauntered for a second, but she didn’t walk.

She danced.

She pranced.

She skipped.

She jumped.

She was an exercise in vivid verbs.


I felt lighter just being there with her exploring the promise of spring.

It was when she was hopping between the grass and the sidewalk, just hopping for no reason at all and every reason that ever existed, that I got it.

This was the smalltalk my husband needed. This was light and airy and fun. This was silly but lovely. This was a breath of fresh air–both literally and figuratively.

I can’t lie. There has been some heaviness the last several months, stuff that made my shoulders slouch. I feel a bit like I’ve been trudging through some of my days, hustling only when we’re late.

I’ve walked, too. The blandest verb for moving forward. I’m moving because, well, I have to.

Lately, I’ve been acutely aware of the bare trees, the way their barren branches resemble crooked arms against a gray sky. Heavy. Yuck.

I’m blessed to have married a man who is willing and able to help me shoulder the heavy stuff.

But I’m ready for light–in color and weight. My husband is, too.

I’m not big on marital advice or advice at all, really. But if someone pressed me, really pressed me (I have no idea who would hold me at gun point for marital advice–sounds nighmarish) I would have to say: skip.

I don’t mean skip it all together.

I mean skip, the weird bouncy movement we did in elementary school just because. I don’t mean couples should skip around the house, although the nosey neighbors who peek in when they’re walking their dogs would LOVE it. I mean skip metaphorically. Or bounce or hop or twirl or spin. Twirling would be awesome.

What I mean is, remember the light–to keep it light sometimes, to be light. I’m really talking to myself here.

I can’t do smalltalk. Not in my own home with the man who has seen me birth children and probably poop on the table, though he is too nice to tell me. No. I won’t agree to smalltalk.

But every once in a while or maybe even more than that

I’ll skip.

Categories: Culture, Emily, Family

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18 replies

  1. Nice! And great picture too. Kids can really teach us something, can’t they?

  2. Marriage with kids becomes like a little business but sometimes you have to get back to why you like eachother and often that means just lightening up in whatever way you can. It’s hard but really good for the relationship! Great post and your daughter is so precious!

  3. Beautifully written. And your littlest is adorable.

  4. Excellent advice for me today. Tomorrow marks 27 years … not nearly enough skipping, twirling, or jumping, but hopefully getting better at the light stuff. 🙂

  5. What a great post Emily! I think it is a good lesson for everyone, we can get so bogged down with life that we forget to stop and have fun, to enjoy it, to lighten the load and yes, to skip.

    • So true. It’s not just marital advice but life advice. I think the spring will help me lighten up…if it really comes! BTW–how do I respond to pins? I’ve tried to answer you, but I fail every single time!

      • You can’t respond when I send you a pin… but you can make a comment on the pin (if you pin it) by typing @kateandmrt and my name should come up, and I will get notified that you mentioned me in a comment.

        There might be an easier way, but I don’t know it!

  6. Love everything you ever write, this included. 🙂

  7. Beautiful sentiment! Sometimes it does get a little like walking through cement. Let’s hold hands and skip!

  8. Beautiful. I need to remember this.

  9. Very good advice. It’s easy to start taking life too seriously when you have little kids around. Their tendency to treat every little thing like a life or death situation rubs off and you find yourself sweating the small stuff. Sometimes it’s nice to just let it go and skip 🙂

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