Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dear Date Night


Dear Date Night,

For us, you are almost as rare as a blue moon--you happen as often as actually receiving a non-telemarketing call, or as effortlessly as finding a picture of oneself one actually likes.  In a word, you are our definition of "scarcity." 

It has never been in our tradition to hire a babysitter, and we don't have family close-by.  I have trust issues and just never bothered to fight my kiddos' separation anxiety for anything but school.  If we wanted to try a new restaurant, we went as a family.  Come vacation time, it was always the four of us.  My one-and-most-trusted caretaker was my SIL, who selflessly helped me with caring for Dear Daughter during the first few years after she was born.  Alas, my SIL married and had her own children.  She and my MIL live about an hour away, so on very special occasions, we have asked them to come babysit for a night out (a count representable by the fingers on one hand since the birth of Dear Son).  And we're okay with that.  I've never felt like I needed more one-on-one time with Dear Husband, although when we do have that chance, it is very special. 

Last Friday, the kiddos' school had its annual Student Lock In (no, not "lock down"), where teachers volunteer their time to babysit entertain students from the time school is out until 9 PM, while raising funds for a local charity.  As this is the first year both kiddos are in the same school together, this was our very first opportunity to take advantage of five hours of no-kiddos time.  We were not sure if DS would be up for it, but having heard his sister talk about how much fun it is, he wanted to join.  And because this was for both a charitable donation as well as precious alone time, we forked over the hefty "suggested" price for the Lock In.

And I shouted to DH, "DATE NIGHT!"

At first I thought we would have a relaxing, nice dinner (with mandatory alcoholic beverages) and call it a night.   But then DH texted me the option of some movie and dinner since we had the time for both.  I opted out of the movie until I realized that it was the new Ryan Gosling movie--with the added bonus of Bradley Cooper.  Well, that's a no-brainer.  DH's man crush serves us both well.  For the record, I enjoyed the movie; it gave me a lot to think about.  To quote DH telling me what the movie is about, "It's about fathers and sons."  Eye candy and role-defining motion picture, check and check.

We had dinner in a busy restaurant next to the theater, where I had my obligatory margarita.  Salt-rimmed and lime-wedged.  There were no kids' menus, small boxes of crayons, or sheets of coloring placemats.  I ate my dinner while it was fresh and warm, we had uninterrupted conversations, and I went to the restroom flying solo.  The two empty chairs at our table spoke volumes: even though it was quite a refreshing experience to dine just the two of us, I missed my two crazy kiddos.  And that'd be why I checked my phone every ten minutes to see if either one wanted to come home early.

Not surprisingly, the kiddos had a grand time.  They're already talking about next year's Lock In.  Unbeknownst to them, we also talked about our future getaways when the kiddos are older.  The possibilities are enticing, although reality is another contender to face.

And don't be fooled by this post's photo, where a gal has a little fun romanticizing about Date Night.  There were no flirty, open-toed heels on my ill-prepared, winterized feet or designer clutch for my bucket-load of essentials.  I wore my unsexy round-toed Keens with socks and grabbed my all purpose shoulder-strap tote filled with diaper-bag-worthy contents for an unfashionable date.  I dropped off DS at school and raced off to meet DH for the early movie, who made more of an effort than I did: he was date-ready with his spring linen blazer.  I'll have to do better next time.

As we wrapped up a great night of fun for everyone, DH declared what he got out of that night to me.  Not a plan for the next date night, or how amazing DS was for not missing us.  But one I couldn't help but smile back at him sweetly yet roll my eyes inside my head: 

DH:  You know what they should make?
Me:  Who?  What?
DH:  They should make an Ocean's 14 and add Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, and Leonardo DiCaprio to the cast.
Me (*straight-faced*):  Mmmm-hmmm.

I'm very proud of DH's security with his masculinity.  

Really.

(Snort.)

So, Dear Date Night, I think it'd be nice if you were to visit more often, especially as the kiddos get older.  But for now, each and every occasion to be just-the-two-of-us is so very special.  And this time, we have the school teachers and staff to thank.  It really was a rare and fabulous night--thank you!




Sincerely,
Me


14 comments:

  1. Ha, loved this post for your unapologetic statement of fact that you do things as a family. It's so easy for parents to judge one another based on what we do and don't do. But, the fact is, so long as parents are happy with their choices, then that's all that matters (and everyone else needs to keep their nose in their own business). After Gavin turned one, Sweets and I made a point to have date night once a month. It's just what we need, but we have plenty of friends who think that's not nearly enough. But, it works for us and, as I said, that's all that really matters.

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    1. Nilsa, I'm so glad to see your comment, and you get that families just function "to each one's own." Thanks for not thinking of us as weirdos who almost never have alone time. I see the importance of date nights, but I think it would be easier for me if I had family who lived close to us (I wouldn't want to spend time out worrying about the kiddos; that would be torturous). So that's why I had to write this great, big exclamation of "yippee--date night" post! :)

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  2. Yay for Date Night!
    Yay for school lock ins!
    And I totally get your parenting style - it's hard when there's not family right there to help. I think of it this way - your date nights are extra special and extra appreciated.

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    1. Exactly, Cindy! Can you feel the extra specialness and appreciation gushing from this post? It was really very nice. But we DO have family in this weekend for a special occasion and hubby and I are having an afternoon away in the city!! And I know the kiddos will be in good hands, so YAY! :) Thank you for coming by--so good to see you here! Have a great weekend!

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  3. So awesome you got a few hours for date night and supported charity :). It's HILARIOUS that DH has man crushes!!!! I'm not sure Alan does...or maybe he doesn't say it out loud, hehe. I certainly have girl crushes. Anywho, I'm ok not having regular date nights either. I used to try to schedule once a month, but that fizzled out last year. Well, at least we'll try to go out for our anniversary. Alan is organizing it! Yay!

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    1. Lisa, none of my friends or peeps who read this blog say their hubbies have man crushes. I guess I have a special one--and he's not even embarrassed by it. It's just funny that his man crushes are way more serious than my girl crushes, haha! Anniversaries are special, and those are usually the reason for our date nights, too. I hope you have a great one, and enjoy it before you guys become four and less time to get away! Thanks, Lisa!

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  4. Good for you to have a date night. Don't worry about being unglamorous, the important thing is you have a date. :-)How wonderful is that!?

    We only have one date night and while it is exciting, it feels odd to be without the children. Like you, we always go out as a family

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    1. Hi, Imelda! I'm not too ashamed of being unglamorous. I like poking fun of myself because life is so different from when the good old days of being young and carefree. I am just getting the sense that the kiddos are really okay without mommy and daddy for a length of time now, as long as they are with people they trust, so I am more relaxed to be able to enjoy some time away. Thank you so much for your comment!

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  5. Date night? What's that? :)

    I'm glad you got a night out. I had to laugh at the high 'suggested price' - when the kids were in day care, they had a night like that before Christmas so parents could shop. We never did it because the price was ridiculous. Sometimes, I guess, we should throw caution to the wind.

    The man crush thing cracks me up. I don't think my husband has one, but I have to say, watching Bradley Cooper is easy on the eyes :)

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    1. Sorry for the late reply, Janna. My 40yo brain with a cold is still mending. :)

      The suggested price was steep, but we shelled out since it was also for charity. Once a year for something like this is actually doable and nice!

      Bradley Cooper is definitely easy on the eyes. Maybe no man crush, but don't most husbands/men like his Hangover movies? I think it's a guy thing... :)

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  6. What a great idea for a fundraiser at school. How nice that the teachers are willing to do this!

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    1. Hi, Asianmommy! The fundraiser was such a success--we raised over 13K in one night. All kudos to the teachers who gave up their Friday nights for this!

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  7. We're blessed that we have family nearby who INSIST on taking the wee ones often, though we still don't do date nights often enough sadly. It's usually because we're running everywhere - he still isn't home yet tonight. ahhh the lives of teachers.

    As for the lock in, we didn't attend but I'm so impressed by the staff who work it and the families who pay FAR more than that large suggested donation (that ummm I can't quite justify in my head but also can't say we can't afford it so urg). Glad EVERYone had fun. And figured out the next big blockbuster.

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    1. Yes, the lives of teachers--they are so dedicated to their work and kids! Congrats on the recent Scholastic Bowl accomplishments!

      Yes, I'm so, so thankful for the teachers and staff that we have who spent an evening (rather, an entire day) with the kids. Same with you on that price, so since we don't have help, we took the opp. It was AWESOME. :) Thanks, Michelle!

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