The other night, the little boys were in bed, the big kids were occupied with homework, snacks, and whatnot. Hubby came to me with that look in his eyes and asked, "Would you like to come outside and weed with me?"
And he really meant come outside and weed the garden.
Twenty-five years ago, I was in a high school typing class. There were only five people in the class, one of whom was a boy on the swim team with me. I didn't really know him, as I was a year behind him in school, and not much chatting can happen while swimming laps. But since the other three students were a bit on the odd side, we sat together. That boy ended up taking me on my first date.
We went out for pizza with another couple, neither of whom I knew. While there, the other girl told me that the guy she was with was being a jerk lately, they weren't getting along and would probably break up soon. Awesome.
After dinner we went to the jerk's house to watch a movie. The jerk sat in a recliner, the girlfriend sat in a rocking chair across the room, and we sat on the couch. During the movie, you could tell that the girl was upset. She just rocked and rocked in that chair, until she ended up practically in the other room. Oh, and the movie we watched? "Carrie" The one with the girl who gets her period for the first time at school and is terrorized by the girls in the locker room. Not exactly what one would call a "date night" movie.
Despite the bad start, I agreed to go on another date with him. And another. And another.
|My 16th birthday, one month after our first date.|
Then he left for college seven hours away. We were old and wise beyond our years, for when it was my turn to go to college, we decided not to go to the same one. We didn't want to stay together out of habit, but wanted to make sure that we really were supposed to be together.
Dates then became phone calls each night. A rare weekend that we could get to the other's school. Christmas and summer breaks jam packed with time together.
Once I graduated, we finally got married. For the first time in five years, we got to live in the same state.
Those first four years of marriage before kids were so much fun. Hubby got much better at finding things to do for our "dates". While living in Arkansas, he took me to the one mountain in Little Rock in order to watch a meteor shower. We once hopped a plane to spend a weekend in Seattle. We would go for long bike rides. Take day or week trips through the country, with no itinerary, no reservations. We'd simply stop when the mood struck. We lived large in Bermuda for seven months. We ate out at great restaurants. We went snorkling off the beach. We spent a day hiking all along the coast. We would play tennis at a little park near our apartment, then immediately jump into the ocean.
Even when Hubby was in graduate school, I was working seven days a week to put him through, and we were dirt poor, we had our dates. We no longer went to fancy restaurants, but we did go to Fazoli's. We would go golfing at a cheap little course in town. Hiking at nearby state parks was always fun.
And then Phoenix was born.
We moved to Indianapolis after Hubby graduated and got a job here. I was eight months pregnant, we didn't know a soul, and the closest relative was two hours away. For a long time, we didn't have any dates alone. We still did fun things, but with a little baby that spit up non-stop, those things were very limited.
Hubby has always been very good at scheduling weekend getaways for us, though. At least once every other year we have a grandma stay with the kids while we take a weekend to ourselves, usually just in downtown Indianapolis. Once, though, Hubby surprised me with a long weekend to NYC to see some Broadway shows. And for our 10th anniversary, we spent a week in Maine.
Once we bought a house and joined a church, we were able to go out a bit. With all of those itty-bitty kids, though, the cost of a sitter was pricey, if we could find one that was able to handle four itty-bitty kids.
|When we first moved to the farm.|
|No sitters lived nearby.|
Finally, we found a couple with whom we could trade sitter time. One night at 8:00 I would go to their house, where their kids would already be in bed. I'd read a book or watch TV in peace, without looking at a house full of things I needed to do while the other couple went out. The following week, one of them would come to our house and do the same. Since it was late, a dinner and a movie was about all we could do, but it was a dinner and a movie with just the two of us.
We always thought that once the kids got older and we didn't need to hire a sitter, it would be so much easier to go out on dates. How wrong we were. It's even harder! They have activities almost every night of the week. And as they get older, those activities go later and later into the night. We are just too darn tired to drag ourselves out at 9:30.
Hubby and I have always been the best of friends. And we firmly believe that we must put our marriage before the kids. Our goal is to raise them to be independent, so they will move out in a timely fashion. We are together for the rest of our lives. We need to keep that friendship.
So, we take our moments alone when we can get them.
And when we are weeding the garden, we are guaranteed to have some uninterrupted time to talk and catch up.
The kids are too smart to risk coming outside to ask for something They know there is always the possiblity of being told to get a bucket and help us.
Have a lovely day!