Monday, October 10, 2011

Date Night

This weekend I had a date.
For any parent this is a huge accomplishment for date nights are few and far between for most of us. Yes, it seems like from the moment the baby is born, your marriage is often put on a shelf for at least 18 years or so. You go from being pronounced "man and wife" to "Mom and Dad". Marriages often take a back seat to pacifiers, car seats, and diapers.
I have always made it a point to try and not allow too much “dust” to build up on my kid-shelved marriage. This isn’t easy. Between work and the kids I don’t have much time to do anything, and if I do get alone time with my husband often we are both exhausted or need to tackle some  huge project. I’ll be honest that as much as I love my husband, I sometimes I have to remind myself that in addition to being the mother of his children I am also his wife.  So, I have always made sure that we make time for periodic date nights, a time where we can be together without our three sidekicks.

But of course with two crazy schedules, finding time for date nights is not easy. My husband works a rotating 12 hour overnight shift, causing him to work every other weekend. During the week, he stays home with the kids a couple days a week to help us curb the ever rising daycare costs. So, this of course often leads to him being exhausted after a work week. Then of course there are all the realities that we have to deal with on the days he is off. The grass needs to be mowed, the house cleaned, the squeaky door made un-squeaky. Due to his crazy schedule, when he does have a day off we most often choose to spend it as a family, to cash in on all the family time we missed out on due to a busy work week.
But this weekend we made time and had a date night. Earlier in the week my Mom called me and volunteered to watch our crew to allow Todd and I to go out to dinner for our 6th wedding anniversary. We were so excited for the opportunity to get out together.

Because my Mom lives an hour away from us, our date nights are limited in location. We most often have to do our date near my hometown to allow us easy access to our babysitter. And as our luck would have it, it was homecoming weekend, making the few restaurants located in my small town to have long waits.
But we got lucky and got into one of our favorite restaurants. As I walked in with my husband we were seated in between two tables full of young kids on dates for homecoming. I laughed at how different our scene was than what was around us. There around us, all the nervous high school students were sitting awkwardly by their dates. The girls were dressed up, often heading to the bathroom to freshen up their bright makeup.

And there we were. Completely comfortable with each other, no first date butterflies, no “I wonder what he’s really like” thoughts. An “old” married couple, wearing blue jeans, t-shirts, and gym-shoes. In fact, I had been running around with the kids so much that day that I realized only moments before heading into the restaurant that I hadn’t even put on any makeup.
I flashed back to how different this scene was when I first met Todd. I can remember spending hours getting ready for one of our early dates, changing outfits 1000 times, curling my hair, putting on a load of makeup. Like the young girls all around me, I wanted to make sure I looked perfect. Now, 6 years of marriage later, I was just happy I didn’t have stains on my shirt!

I sat there at the restaurant, probably looking way too casual to be drinking the glass of wine I ordered. But I was in heaven. It was so nice to be sitting at a restaurant with my husband, without hearing “Mommy, where’s my food, I’m SOOOOO hungry” or having to push the cups, and plates all to the side of the table to avoid the huge wingspan of my toddler. It was nice to just sit there and be a couple.
Okay so I felt old in comparison to the high school kids around me (but thankfully the waitress did ask to see my ID so I felt a little better). But it actually felt good to be with a man and not have to put on the frills. The longer we are married the more I appreciate being able to just be me.

We finished dinner and headed to a local park. We sat there under the stars and just talked. We talked and talked, and surprisingly the kids hardly came up in conversation. I was so happy to see that after 6 years of marriage we actually had more to talk about than soccer practice, kindergarten, and the price of diapers.
At one point in our night my husband looked at me and said “Wow, what did we do before the kids were here?” Although I laughed back and said “Sleep” I really thought to myself…”We did THIS”. We had each other.  

When you get married all your love is focused on your spouse, they get all of you. With each child, more and more of you is focused into the children you adore. But I encourage you to take the time and sit under the stars with your husband every now and then. Just leave your Mommy self out in the mini-van and remember what its like to be in love. Its so important to get out there and celebrate the love that made those children, and for me the love that truly started my life.



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