It's been a busy New Year. We rang in the new year with a run in with "the plague," as we call it, the stomach bug that ransacked the house and left not a person unscathed. It was mercifully short, though the recovery was slow.
I fell behind, in everything. My correspondences have gone woefully neglected, and I promise to get to them this weekend! I'd just gotten back on my feet healthwise, when we started school up again. Blogging called to me, but I could barely muster the energy or time. I'm eager to get back into the swing of things. This little community of Blogdom has come to mean quite a bit to me.
"Checking in," has a bit of a different meaning in our house, and something I wanted to share today...
Going back a while now, Jason and I began to unearth what it was that I needed... I got spanked when I got in trouble, but being disciplined happened somewhat rarely. I had very few rules and it happened maybe a few times a month that I'd end up over his knee for punishment. But in between punishments I remember telling him I felt "off," "antsy," and "I don't know what's wrong with me."
Over time, he came to see, about the same time that I did, that although we both liked spanking for foreplay, and we both recognized my need for discipline, I needed something else. Something more.
"Some people do this thing called maintenance," I said, and he'd shake his head. For the longest time, he felt that maintenance was "spanking for the sake of spanking" and served no greater purpose. I could see his point. But still...part of me wanted that. I knew I felt better after being spanked. I always felt centered, more positive, happier, connected. I could focus on what I needed to. The twinge I felt when I sat down after a spanking would make me remember him. I loved bearing the marks of his spanking me. It made me feel like I belonged to him, like I was special, and reminded me that I trusted him. It was a deeply personal, intimate thing I shared with no one else.
I needed more. We needed more.
And over time, Jason came up with what he calls my "check in."
In the morning...nearly every morning...I wake up before he does. But after a little bit, I bring him his coffee. I love bringing him his coffee. He's so sexy when he wakes up in the morning, if you know what I mean. I sit by the side of the bed and adore him as he does his man-growl-wake-up-yawn and mumbles that sleepy-husky, "Mornin' babe." I'm usually chipper (I'm a morning person), but I tone it down because he reacts to my morning chipperness like one might react to a flashlight being shone in the face upon being woken up. I sometimes snuggle under his arm and rub his back or, if he's being tolerant and not like a sleepy grizzly coming out of hibernation, I might run my finger around the scruff of his beard. Oh how I love the scruff of his beard.
Sometimes, I can't help myself and hop on top of him and bounce the bed and pull the covers off, but even coffee-deprived sleepy grizzlies just waking up from hibernation are stronger than little old me, and that doesn't usually end up well for my bottom, so that particular kind of wake-up must be reserved for special occasions.
Anyhow, I digress.
He wakes up, and drinks his coffee, and slowly comes to. When he's ready, he either has me sit up next to him, lie with my head on his chest, or kneel beside him as he sits up in bed. We go over the day.
"What do you have planned today?" he asks, and I tell him. I have this errand to run, this is the household task I'm planning on, need to make this phone call, etc. If there's something he needs me to do, he will tell me. "Please don't forget to deposit this check," or "Don't forget to pick up your vitamins." However, sometimes as I go through what I need to do, it's too much, and he helps me pare down. Honestly? I love that he does this for me. "No, that will get overwhelming. I know you want to pay that bill and go grocery shopping, but you have so many other things to do. Tell you what. I'll pay the bill, and stay with the kids when I get home from work so you can go grocery shopping alone."
Sometimes he'll say something like, "Tonight, after dinner, you're going out to get your nails done," or he'll surprise me and tell me he has the day off, or say, "Tonight you and I are going out on a date." I try really hard to be all grown-up and mature, but usually when he says this kind of thing I squeal like a little girl, which usually makes him laugh and tweak my nose or tug my hair.
I love this part of the day. I feel like I don't have to manage everything on my own. We're both able, together, to manage this family and home of ours, and it's so nice not going it alone.
Then he usually goes over my rules. We don't have a list of rules, or a contract, but we do have a few very basic rules that cover everything.
Obey your husband.
Those are basic understandings that go without being said. But I do have a few very specific rules he goes over with me on a regular basis. Either while I'm kneeling, or lying next to him in bed, he will say, "What are your health rules?" and I'll tell him. These rules include things like taking my vitamins and getting to the gym. Then he'll say, "What are your 'be nice to other people rules?'" and I'll tell him...be kind, be respectful, no swearing or yelling. Finally, he'll say, "And what are your safety rules?" That is the longest list of all, the one area where there is no wiggle room or room for compromise, and I very very rarely break those rules anymore. Lately, after several rather unpleasant trips over his knee, I've put "no back talking or being disrespectful" under my "safety" rules. (He's smirked, but agreed I had a point.) These rules include things like no speeding, reading texts in the car, or forgetting to turn the stove off.
And then over his lap I go. Sometimes he goes over these rules while I'm over his knee. Yesterday, over the knee I went, and as he paddled me he said, "Today we won't go over your rules. You know what they are and I expect you to remember them."
He always says something like, "I expect you to be a good girl today," and will often, as he's spanking me, remind me what happens to "good girls who obey." He'll take me out on a date, or give me a good girl spanking, or read to me before bed.
If I've gotten close to the edge on something, I might get a few extra hard swats and a reminder. "You almost forgot your vitamins yesterday. Today, I want you taking them right after breakfast," or "Remember you got a bit snippy with me at breakfast. Today, I want you to remember how to speak respectfully." Often, as I'm over his knee for my morning check-in spanking, I'm saying things like, "Yes, sir," or "I'll try my best today," or "I won't forget."
It's not like a punishment. It's very different. It's more of a combination of stress relief and role affirmation. Reminds me what I need to do. Reminds me who's in charge.
And then when he's done, he spends a little while rubbing out the sting, and I always go down on my knees. Sometimes he will put his finger under my chin to have me look up at him, or I'll put my head on his lap and wrap my arms around him. This is when he says things like, "You're my good girl and I love you." Yesterday, it was my absolute favorite... "You're my little one."
This time of connection has become so vital, to both of us. For a long time, I denied that I needed it. Surely, I could go about my day as I used to, on my own. But I always felt like something was missing. Something was off. Finally, Jason recognized this, even before I did, and he made it a priority.
But some days, life gets in the way. This happened a few weeks ago. Time got away from us. And we had no time for my morning check-in. Much to my surprise (and, admittedly, embarrassment), I felt bereft. I was suddenly floundering, saddened, as we bundled up the kids in their coats and got ready to leave. Much to my chagrin, I don't have one of these buttons:
Jason saw me, heard me, and knew. He crossed the room and gently pushed me onto the couch, leaning in so close to me that only I could hear him. He put his finger under my chin and lifted my face to his, as he towered over me.
"I know we missed your check-in," he whispered. "But you're going to be okay."
I felt a lump rise in my throat. I was so overwhelmed, but at the same time, so grateful he understood how I felt. His hand on my chin, he kept whispering. Our kids swarmed around us, dressing themselves in coats and shoes, oblivious to what was happening between the two of us. We were instantly in our own world, as he set it all to rights.
"Tell me, baby girl. Tell me what you need to do today," he whispered. I looked up at him, and my emotions gave way. Tears silently rolled down my cheeks. The feeling of being overwhelmed dissolved and the feeling of being understood, cared for, and cherished, took over.
I told him my plans for the day, in a hushed whisper, as the tears silently fell and he listened.
"Good girl," he whispered. "Now tell me your rules." I responded in a hushed, whispered rush of words that sounded something like take my vitamins, don't speed, obey you, be safe.
"I've got you," he said, leaning in so his forehead touched mine, and his thumb brushed my tears away. "And tonight," he continued to whisper softly, "I'll put you over my lap and give you what you need." I nodded, swallowed hard, and promised him. I would do what needed to be done. I could still do it. I would make him proud. I thanked him for knowing, for understanding.
He lifted me up, hugged me tightly, and everything was just as it should be. Everything was right again.
It surprised me how much I've come to rely on our morning check-in. But as I thought about it, I realized it's become a part of who we are and what we do. A dance, him holding me, one step out, one step in, pulling me back into him. It works for us, keeps us open and honest. It's me, giving him all that is in me, and him, picking me up again and leading the way.