I hung the outfit on the bar in my closet on Tuesday morning. I knew then that it was a sort of silly thing to do and I also knew that in this crazy life, it was highly possible that plans would go awry. Still, I hung it there. And now it's Friday. And tonight is Date Night. I think we're actually going to go.
I nearly forgot that my reliable "babysitter" would be in Steubenville, but Michael and Kristin can make a last minute save. The under-13 crowd approves of my choice of supervisors. Cross my fingers and click my heels, I think Mike and I are going to go out tonight.
This whole date night concept is kind of new to us. I think my husband was on a bit of a quest last year. He's very smart guy. After 25 years of nursing babies and very attached toddlers, he made his move. Not just dates, but trips. Actual "vacations" away. Three of them. In the same year! People, we never had a honeymoon. These were the first three trips of our marriage. We went to Miami and to Baltimore and then, in September, we spent a week in California.
On these trips–particularly in California–I learned the language of date night. My only regret? That I didn't learn it sooner. Not day goes by even now that our trip to California doesn't come to mind. I think I actually said aloud to someone the other day that it was "life changing." And it was. It was a honeymoon, 25 years later. Now, we have mini honeymoons when we have a date night.
In California, we visited Napa, and toured wineries. We watched the sun set over the water in Monterey. We took a leisurely drive down the Pacific Coast Highway and we meadered back on 17 Mile Drive. We went to Mass in an old Mission church. We met friends for dinner in an amazing restaurant. We hung out backstage at a Dave Matthews concert (haven't blogged that one yet, have I?). Mostly though, we had hours and hours of uninterrupted falling in love–again.
Tonight's date night will take us to dinner and a Virginia winery we've grown to love since returning from Napa. We'll drive our own mountain roads and sip some local artistry. My guess is it's all going to feel very much like California did, deep down in our hearts. Sometimes, though, instead of sun setting over Monterey Bay, we sit at the lake in our neighborhood and watch the sun go down as we eat a carryout Chinese picnic.
Good enough. Really good, actually.
I spend so much time here talking about living an intentional life with our children. It occurs to me that Date Night is the best of intentionality at the heart of a marriage. Mabye it's not a night out. Maybe it's getting up a half hour earlier so that you can [try to] be up before the baby and have breakfast together out on the front steps. Maybe it's hiring a sitter or asking the empty-nester next door to just come for an hour after everyone's asleep so that you can share a dessert and a cup of chai on the patio of a local coffee shop. Slip out. Get away (even if it's just to the playhouse in the backyard).
Fall in love again.