Thanks, Date Night.

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I remember you. You’re that guy that I fell in love with. The one that faked the Australian accent. Sorry, Scottish. The guy that I married. And then had three rowdy boys with. I’ve seen you coming in and out of our house, but I haven’t gotten to stop and look at you. Or talk to you. Just you. Without a child asking, tugging on me or demanding for me to find something in the midst of your important story. I remember you now. Oh yeah, I like you. A lot.

Sometimes you go your way. I go mine. Then, we work hard, really hard, to all go somewhere, as a family. Together. We will do this. Coordination and perseverance, baby. Last week, it only took us a few hours to all get out the door. But we did it. Oops. We forgot the bug spray. No turning back. We’re coming, Mosquitoes. Walk a few miles. We’re all together. Jazz in the woods. Yeah. But you’re focusing on those two kids while I got this one. And then we switch. If you push the stroller, then I’ll carry the man child in my “Ergo Baby.” Holy back sweat. Making this memory was a lot of work.

Our schedules are weird, not normal. Our lives are a little hectic. Well, a lot. It’s revolving door, tag team parenting a lot of times. Demanding in so many ways. Family time. Old friend time. New friend time. We have to schedule time together. It requires a conscious effort from both of us to push back on the present and future stresses. Us time. Date nights are crucial. Marriage saving. Stress reducing. And usually a lot of fun, even if one of us tears up at the table.

I’m always exhausted when I need to shower and get ready. Trying to clean up a little for our babysitter. One of the boys is using his action figure to torpedo tampons all over our bathroom. Really? The five o’clock hour. I’ve lost my patience. I want to cancel. And just curl up on the couch. Hire a person to come boil some water for those spaghetti noodles. I have got to pep myself up. Find my legs and get the boys’ (suspect) dinner ready. I hope the effort will be worth it. If now I can only find something to wear. It will be awesome once I can exhale in the car on the way there. And bonus, I can go to the bathroom all by myself in the restaurant. No little commentators. Sweet.

I drive to pick you up at work. I have strategically shoved my co-pilot AKA a lot of papers and crap behind my seat. You open the door and look at me. You tell me how beautiful I look. I think it’s the red lipstick. Then, you don’t want to ruin it but I notice your nose flinch. I left the swimsuits in the hot car….all day. I know, it does smell like a rotten fart. That mildewy smell triggers a great start. We’re both laughing.

Date nights help me to remember you. Why I love you so much. And why I love us so much. There you are. I see you. You’re not coming or going. You’re just trying to make up your mind on what you should order with our kind waitress helping you. Mr. Indecisive Food Orderer Guy. You’re sitting right across from me. Not texting me. Not calling me from a phone or another room in the house. You’re real-live with me. Just me.

Tonight, we used a Christmas present, a restaurant gift card. They’re the best. Especially when we lose them, then, hooray, we find them. I love talking with you and listening to the people around us. It was the kind of restaurant where you sit really close to others. There was the funniest seventy year old foursome sitting next to us. One of the women scolded her husband and he looked at us and apologized to us for cussing so loud. He said he can’t hear very well. We both laughed. No worries. I heard that same man later tell his friend, “Ditto.” Then, his friend said, “I don’t think they’re using that word anymore.” Sorry, Patrick Swayze. I love kid time, family time, time at home, don’t get me wrong. But it’s a fun change to be out with adults, eating good food, drinking wine and unintentionally listening to others’ conversations while trying to have your own.

Thank you for recharging us, date night. Our battery sometimes flickers, or gets out of range. One bar of service type of interactions. I can be a real jerk when we keep missing each other. Miscommunication or just lack of communicating with one another.  I can be short fused. Moody. Perhaps resentful even of the people who get to go to coffee or have a beer with you. And instead of pouring into you, I’m taking everything out on you. I’m sorry. Thanks for always recognizing the symptoms of date night withdrawal. And for making it happen, bringing Siri into the mix and scheduling some “us” time.

We get home. I talk with our babysitter, then our littlest long-napping stinker walks down the stairs. He’s a happy little bed head. And it’s the chatterbox hour. Two out of three boys sleeping. Not too shabby. For summertime. Then the doorbell rings. It’s my husband’s friend from out-of-town staying the night. I pay our babysitter and get our youngest back to bed. Welcome back to our crazy life, however with an adjusted new attitude.  A “we can do this, all of this” attitude. Our battery is charged,  back at 100%. Or pretty close to it.

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