He whisked in on a chariot, swept me off my feet, and took me away from all of this.
And it was perfect.
Remember? It had been one of those weeks. For several weeks, actually. And at the end of that particular week, he knew. He just knew. He knew better than I did that we needed to re-focus. On each other. Somehow, he understood that if we could just spend several hours, just the two of us, all would be right with the world.
I told him the other day that heretofore the most romantic thing he's ever done was to renew my driver's license without me even knowing it was in danger of expiring. Lest you think that's a small deal, I will divulge that five years prior, I had neglected to renew my license in a timely manner, so--nine months pregnant with my fourth baby--I had to go to DMV and take the test again. The written test. And I failed it. Which made a very pregnant woman cry. So, when it came up for renewal the next time and I was very pregnant with our sixth child, he snagged it from the mail, filled out the forms, paid the fee, and presented me with a shiny new license a couple of weeks later. And I cried. With relief.
But I digress.
Last Friday, he outdid himself in the romace department. We went out to dinner. When we arrived at the white tablecloth restaurant where they have adults who wait on the tables instead of teenagers (good thing, too, because I'd had my fill of teenagers), they took us to a table set back in an alcove. With a curtain. Our own private little room, just as he'd requested. It was quiet and I could hear every word he said. I could watch his face in the soft light and hang on every detail. The dearest face in all the world looked back at me.
The food was truly delicious. I kept reminding myself to slow down, lest it all be over too soon. The food, the quiet, the light, the privacy, even the white tablecloth. Back to every word he said: I wondered a little about the words. It was a date night, after all. Was I allowed to talk about our children? I mean, it was a date. Just us. Turns out it was fine to talk about the kids, good even. And all the other things I wanted to say? He already knew them, without my even saying a word. He knew them and he spoke the words I so wanted to hear in reply. Spoke them with heart. That dear face leaning close to mine so that I wouldn't miss even the slightest whisper.
We left the restaurant and walked around the Town Center, holding hands and taking in the sights. I reminded him that we'd had two other dates there: one the day Clinton admitted he lied about "that woman." And one when we went to pick out birth announcements before Stephen was born (he's twelve now). We don't get out much.
On this night, though, we got out. He'd arranged for us to stay the night at a nearby hotel. A beautiful hotel. With crisp sheets and room-darkening shades and air conditioning. Just us. Tangled together all night long without any chance that we'd hear the thundering approaching steps that people so often refer to as "the pitter-patter of little feet." It was just us. And us was more than enough. After 23-plus years of sharing time and space with the people we helped to create, I was a little worried about what would happen when it was just us. We are a team and we work together exceptionally well; we give 110% towards raising these children. It's almost always about them. And rarely about us. So, what would happen when the "them" was taken from the equation?
What happened was magical. Truly magical.
I slept so well, so soundly, so peacefully--until 9:15 the next morning when room service rapped on the door to announce the arrival of the lightest, most savory fritatta and the plumpest, most beautiful berries in maple glaze. We breakfasted in bed and laughed at texts from various children left at home. We lingered in the glow of perfect, magical us.
I returned home relaxed and happy and very much in love.
Disclaimer: No toddlers were weaned for the making of this perfect date. Sarah Annie survived just fine.