We don’t do date night too often, we don’t make it a priority to escape just us two but maybe we should. So it’s a big deal. We have a gift card to a restaurant, I put on my nicest outfit – fuchsia tights, tall brown boots and a little black dress – and whip out the black eyeliner, I’m feeling so saucy. It’s our night. All day, I’m dancing in delight at the thought of an evening with you, my darling. It’s not too often I get to go out for supper, let alone just us two, to have a conversation without a single – hang on a second…. – interruption. All week long, it’s been Evelynn’s week of need with her runny nose and teething misery. Not a supper has been made unless she’s riding Ergo-style on my back and I’m ready for a rest. My mother is the Baby-Whisperer and we’re still going out and I think I’ll leave my diaper bag at home to celebrate.
We curled up at a local steakhouse. We hold hands lazy across the table, like we always do, fingers touching. The service isn’t great and it’s pretty cold in here but who cares? It’s date night and they can take their time, we’re sipping red wine slow. Our meal hasn’t arrived yet and we’re just getting to the good conversation, the one that comes after we’ve talked about the day and the tinies and work and the details and the catch-up-on-it-all. We’re drifting into our favourite words, the conversation of corner booths and empty restaurants, of years making love in all hours of the day. The gift of listening well is being given.
But then phone is buzzing and our wee girl, she’s just inconsolable at home. Ever and I, we’re in a funny cosmic connection phase right now. She knows when I leave the house. If I put her to bed and stay home, she sleeps bliss. But if I put her down and sneak quiet out the front door, she wakes up within moments of my soul leaving the premises and cries her protest. Occupy Bedtime! I want my mum and I know somehow that she isn’t near me. I had hoped we could get away with an evening but it’s just not to be tonight. We sit in silence for a minute and date night is already over. We can’t recapture the light night when I know there’s a wee girl at home that needs her mama.
So you pay full price for a meal we’ll eat at home heated up in the microwave an hour later. We drive through wet snow-rain, holding hands on the gear shift and when your company car rocks into park, I’m already running into the house, leaving you, and I dash up to the stairs to see her there, crying real crocodile tears, looking forlorn and lonely, surrounded by people. It’s a quick change out of my fancy clothes, back into my jammies, and then she’s in my arms, quiet and exhausted, both of us resting at last. Your eyes aren’t resentful on us, you look happy to see us together again, your heart just as much for her as my own.
I nursed her and tucked her into bed where she slept easily. (Of course she did, she knows I’m home to stay somehow.) And then Joe fell out of his bed with a crash and woke her up again and we started over with two sobbing tired tinies (one still snoring through it all) but sleep came mercifully quick for them.
An hour later, we finished our date night on the couch. We heated up our supper and it wasn’t very good, let’s be honest. We balanced our plates on pillows, jammies on, faces scrubbed and watched The Daily Show on our computer, laughing and eye-rolling.
Oh, my love, this is the season for date night, interrupted. And it’s okay – really – with us both. We’re together, corner booth or corner of the couch. You lean over onto me, at rest, and my fingers are on your ear lobe kneading and I know that you’re happy, too, that this is really all we ever wanted on those late nights of early loving more than 12 years ago, we only ever wanted to be together for all of this, didn’t we? Kiss me goodnight in our bed, let me rest my ankles on your leg, the snow is starting to fall in earnest.
I write sometimes about what love looks like for us.