I needed a night out…let me emphasize that for you: I REALLY NEEEEEDED a night out. A date.
DW got back around 3pm on Friday after being gone for a long week on business. Our daytime routine doesn’t change much while he is away. After all, he works from 7am to 6 or 7pm most days. It’s the night-time that is really draining. That’s when I feel alone and completely wasted. It’s not just that I need adult conversation – I want a conversation with him. The person that I can let my guard completely down, sit around in my pajamas with a glass of wine in my hand and be emotionally naked.
Friday was pretty rushed when he got home. The Hare needed to get picked up from gymnastics and The Tortoise needed to get to her theater camp production. Somewhere in between we needed to eat. By the time we got home from the show, it was after 10pm. I was looking forward to putting the kids to bed. It meant that I would finally have some alone time with DW since he got back, but after 30 minutes of him being M.I.A I realized that we would have to connect the next day. He had fallen asleep in The Hare’s room.
Bright and early the next morning we were bustling around to get The Hare ready for a gymnastics competition. She participates in a national program called TOPS which is purely a strength training and conditioning team. They were having testing Saturday morning. It is a closed “meet” so DW volunteered to do the driving for me, as there could be no spectators anyway. So he set off for the day at 8:30am, not expecting to return until after lunchtime.
Home, but not home. I still missed him.
I spent the day cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry and sweeping floors. The Tortoise ended up spending the day with a friend, so Luna and I had the house totally to ourselves. Around noon DW and The Hare came bounding in the house, hungry and excited about the competition. I only half listened. I was distracted by an almost 6ft handsome man standing in my kitchen. His blue eyes sparkling listening to his daughter ramble.
“Look at me…look at me,” my heart shouted.
“Hey – want to get a sitter tonight?” I asked.
“How about a movie and then drinks and appetizers afterward?”
“No dinner out?” he asked surprised.
“Naw, I have chicken to grill. Let’s have a family dinner and then go out.”
Our amazing sitter was of course available last minute. (Thank goodness.) Since we don’t have any family near us, dates are not on a regular basis. Paying a sitter can be as much, if not more, than going out. We rent a lot of movies. In fact, in nine years of marriage the only vacation we have had without children was our honeymoon. Our last date had been a while too. I was going through some major dating withdrawal.
Now that our plans were set, I started feeling a little giddy. I even shaved my legs in the shower. My hair was cooperating quite nicely, I must say, and it had been at least a week since my make-up caboodle had been dug out from under the sink. I chose my favorite pair of faded frayed jeans, a black, cranberry and white floral halter top and some comfy black flip-flops. I stood in front of the mirror for a few minutes contemplating the ensemble. It didn’t seem very “date” like actually. A step-up from my daily “mom” look, but definitely not sexy, but before I could change I heard the girls arguing downstairs. I was reminded that the grill was fired up and ready, and that the sitter would be here in just under an hour.
Changing would have to wait.
Dinner came together in spite of the girls’ back and forth bickering. One was overly tired while the other was just in a bad mood. Either way, I was starting to regret this family dinner thing. So I did what any level-headed mom would do at this point – I poured a glass of wine.
I had just enough time after dinner to run upstairs and put on the finishing touches. I thought. No sooner had I started rummaging through my sassy little dresses, the doorbell rang and I heard DW and one of the girls butting heads about how much food was left on someone’s plate.
It was time to go.
I had ceased feeling like a girl on a date as we drove to the movies. The family chaos still lingered in between us. Routine had choked out the romance.
We bought our tickets. DW got in line for snacks and I got us some seats. While I waited for him, I couldn’t help but take inventory of all the women smartly dressed in the theater. Some out on dates, others enjoying a girls night out. But they all seemed to sparkle and shine with their fancy purses, flashy jewelry and trendy haircuts. I sunk further into the seat in my faded blue jeans and flip-flops.
DW sat down with a small soda and a bag of Red Vines.
“I thought you might like these, ” he said tossing them into my lap, “I noticed you got them last time.”
Familiarity is a funny thing. Sometimes it feels predictable and boring. But at other times it can be extremely comfortable and inviting like a warm bed in the middle of winter. It was such a small thing, remembering the Red Vines, but it was as flattering as if he had just brought me a bouquet of flowers.
After the movies we decided to hit a small bar and grill for a glass of wine and an appetizer. There were six women sitting on the other side of the room. Ironically, the same sultry dressed bombshells that I eyed at the movies. In the bathroom I stared at my reflection, adjusted my glasses, and wondered what in the world DW saw. I resembled more closely those six women when we started dating. The clothes, the hair, the attitude. Now I was just a mom pretending to be on a date.
As I crossed the restaurant, DW’s eyes locked with mine, his smile broadening. Maybe it was the moonlight lighting the room, or the wine making my cheeks warm, but in that moment I really felt like I was on a date again. I walked a little slower, taking my time to cross the floor. I might even have started strutting. The jeans, the flip-flops – it all seemed irrelevant.
DW reached for my hand when I sat down across from him. Our eyes had not wavered.
“I love everything about you, ” he said.
There was no pretending here – this was real. He loves me when I’m cranky, he loves me with morning breath and bad hair days. He loves me when we argue about the kids and he loves me when I drag him to stupid chick-flick movies. He loves me when I’m too tired to make dinner or forget to wash his favorite work pants. He loves me when I make a mistake balancing the checkbook and he loves me when I’m needy and whiny.
He loves me even in my jeans and flip-flops.