Yesterday, after a previous engagement I was looking forward to was canceled, my husband asked me on a date. He even went so far as to line up a baby sitter for the evening first, to make sure we would be able to go.
(This is where we cue a chorus of “Awwww” and this face:)
Date night is always something to look forward to; am I right, ladies? But when you’re parents, and your daily schedules revolve around things like picking Cheerio dust out of the carpet and changing dirty diapers that smell like rotten cauliflower, the idea of a night out sounds like a straight-up vacation. And if there’s some kind of chocolate dessert involved, that vacation just got promoted from a weekend at a bed and breakfast to a week in Maui.
Or maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, my mood went from blue to “woo hoo” in the ten seconds it took me to say yes! Then I asked him the ultimate pre-date night question.
“Got anything special planned?”
And as usual, got the same response that I’ve gotten on every date night in the last 13 months. “Dinner and a movie?”
Insert pouty face here.
See, here’s the thing. We are creatures of habit. We frequent the same handful of restaurants. We frequent the same number of stores. And when it comes to fun time out, especially in the Deep South in the middle of the most miserable summer in recent history, the movies is it. Dinner and movie is great….but can you blame a girl for wanting a little romance? Candlelit dinners in some perfectly quiet restaurant with linen tablecloths and snooty waiters? A romantic stroll on the beach, holdings hands and strolling down memory lane? Maybe even an unexpected adventure, exploring this place we call home, but that has so much more to offer than we’ve ever really bothered to experience?
So I whined a little. “We always go the same places…we always do the same things…wah wah woe is me.”
And Brian, being the knight in shining armor that he is, suggested a NEW restaurant that we’ve never been to before! Placated, I agreed to the dinner and a movie date as planned, with the shiny new restaurant in my pocket as a consolation prize to not being whisked away in a private jet to Italy for dinner and drinks. (So sue me, I read too many romance novels.)
As I headed to bed last night, though, I really started to think about the way things had transpired between us. Here is this man—–this hard-working, generous, thoughtful man who went out of his way to make me happy. He secured a babysitter, looked into movie times, even asked his co-workers about restaurants, so he could take me on a date. This guy—the one I’ve been married to for almost 12 years, the one who still makes my heart skip a beat, the one who always knows how to make me laugh…
…that hunk of mine wants to take me out on the town. He wants to share a special meal with me, just us, where we don’t have to race through our meals as fast as we can because a certain little squirtlet is tired of his high chair. He wants to take me to a movie, where we can hold hands in the dark. He wants to spent time with me…just me. Just the two of us.
And that’s what date night should be about. Not about what fancy restaurant we try, or what others (read, wives who read too many romance novels) perceive as being “grand romantic gestures.”
So I don’t need the flowers and the ambiance and the “someplace new.” I don’t need the fanfare or the box of chocolates. But what I do need is a few hours every now and then to spend with the great love of my life, to remind ourselves that even though we aren’t as young and thin as we once were, we are still those two crazy kids who fell madly in love one summer in the mountains of North Carolina.
Besides, movie theater popcorn rocks.