Here's the thing about going out on dates with your husband infrequently. You kind of get out of practice.
Take this Sunday for example. We decided that it would be a perfect plan to hit a matinee for a movie first and then go for dinner. That way we would be home for bedtime, and there would be no lines because it was super bowl Sunday. Well, there were no lines that's for sure. There also wasn't anything open when it was time to eat. Our city has this cute little old town downtown section, with art galleries and restaurants and wine bars. It's very close to the local movie theatre. So all week I was envisioning a romantic evening at one of the little French restaurants perhaps, with the patio lights and topiaries that I see during the week when the kids and I walk to the farmer's market.
After we watched the movie-Taken, it was really good-we headed over to the street where I wanted to eat. And we encountered a ghost town. It turns out that, well, Sunday night isn't exactly a booming business time in a town our size. Especially not super bowl Sunday. The sports pub was open, but that wasn't quite what I had in mind. So after awkwardly walking a few blocks in either direction we got in the car and headed to the next town over.
This is southern California, it was only a 10 minute drive, and you would not know we left one town for another unless you lived here. There were more places open there, but none with that sort of intimate feeling I was hoping for.
We do this thing, the Genius Husband and I, where he wants me to decide, and I don't want to, and he wants me to, and I don't want to. At this point, when all my plans had fallen through, I now realize that I wanted him to just come to the rescue, pull something out of his hat and take us to a great little place that he happened to know about. He, on the other hand is thinking that it's my birthday, so I get to decide, and he remains stolidly silent and chauffeurlike on the subject. I think in another decade, if we go on one date a year as we're averaging now, we'll have this business all sorted out.
So I decided, and am now old enough and confident enough to not spend the whole time worrying that he was unhappy with my choice as I might have done 9 years ago. We sucked it up and ate very tasty and over priced fish in a place that was less than romantic but at least didn't have neon lighting and produced cloth napkins. And I have learned that even when a restaurant says their business hours are from 11am to 6pm Sat and Sunday that I should do a little bit more research anyway, just to be sure.
I enjoyed looking over his shoulder at the old man and woman seated next to us, glasses filled with rose colored wine and quietly chatting. I wondered what on earth they were talking about because I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to make conversation that didn't include the kids, work, or my family. For a long time, in between ordering and when the food came we were largely silent. It was kind of nice actually.
Eventually we talked about plot ideas for books that we had heard, read, or were working on ourselves.
As soon as we were finished we came home to our gorgeous children and beloved sister/sil, tucked them into bed, cleaned up the mess and all was as it should be once more. I know the experts say couples need to make sure they spend time together just the two of them and build their relationship or they will end up with nothing to talk about when children leave but sometimes it just feels so contrived and forced for us to try and do that outside of the regular context of our daily lives.
This is where we are right now, and it's good. We have way more interesting conversations spanning every subject from theology to creative not quite insults while I'm in the middle of cleaning up the kitchen and he's taking a break from chatting with his little brother on face book than we have ever managed in the context of a "date". (We once decided we would make a pretty gift books or cards to sell that contained compliments such as, "I love you, a whole steaming pile." Yes we are weird, we like it that way.)
I'm grateful for the time out, and he's happy I wore a skirt with heels for the occasion, but I'm not pining to do it again anytime soon. I realized that I'm quite content with things the way they are, and that may be the best birthday gift of all.