Today I am Grateful For… Date Night

Last night, I laughed harder than I have in a long time. I laughed more often than I have in a long time. I felt closer to my husband than I have in a long time. I felt more like myself than I have in a long time. All thanks to date night.

I know I am probably not breaking any news when I mention that new parents often get busy and don’t have as much time to themselves. Between planning meals, budgeting, talking about how much our baby ate, slept, pooped (color, amount, frequency – the romance of it all), walking the dog, and trying to catch up with family and friends, it’s more difficult than before to connect one-on-one.

Spending time alone together is something couples have to be intentional about before they go down the very slippery slope of ignoring their relationship for 18 years, coming out the other side with an empty nest and living with someone who is essentially a stranger. According to Time Magazine’s recent special edition on The Science of Marriage, divorce rates spike around the age that couples go back to just the two of them. Time alone with your spouse/partner is important, just as important as spending time with your kids. So you have to make time for both. It’s easier said than done, and sacrifices have to be made.

Last night, we made one such sacrifice. My mom (saint and goddess) watches our baby while we work… yes, we get free daycare by an amazing caretaker and family member. With both sets of parents here, we also have the back-up help of my in-laws, which makes us extra-super-double lucky. On Thursdays, my mom keeps the baby late so we can go to the gym together. Fitness is very important. But last night, we made the wonderful call of not going to the gym, and using the time to go to dinner instead.

We got home on a rare 75-degree day in February, walked our dog, held hands and chatted before we got ready for dinner. I put on make-up. He did his hair. We put in some effort for each other. My husband found a new sushi place for us to try, so we loaded just ourselves (no car seat or diaper bag) into the car and toodled on our merry way.

Arriving at Cherry Hills Sushi Co. (name drop because it was delicious) we bellied up to the counter and watched the friendly staff hand-roll our sushi. We tried flights of sake, which the staff educated us about in great deatil. We looked at each other and talked… without being interrupted. Best of all, we laughed. A lot. We both felt invigorated, youthful, and happy to be with each other in that moment. We had agreed not to talk about the weekend plans, the budget, or anything else on our adulting checklist. This freed us up and forced us to live right there in the present. Every aspect of our meal was fulfilling.

With the taste of ginger on our tongues, the smell of nori on our fingers, and the feeling of the love that brought us together in our hearts, we paraded back to my parents’ house to pick up our darling girl. Not before stopping for giant ice cream cones. Walking into my parents’ house and telling them about our evening, I could feel in my face the genuine happiness I was exuding.

We were still giggling when we woke up this morning.

Today I am Grateful For…

I am grateful that I remember a time before cell phones. A time when you had to wait for someone to call. You had to make plans and stick to them and trust that your friends would show up at a decided location at a predetermined time. Guys had to ask you out to your face. You had to blush and say yes or no. I am so glad I got through adolescence awkwardly making real connections with real people, learning how to make eye contact; rather than worrying about whether or not I should add another girl on Snapchat so I can see what her life is like and debating whether adding her the day after meeting her would be too weird. (I actually overheard this conversation between three 19 year olds in the gym locker room yesterday.) I am glad the social norms of my day were based on actual interpersonal interaction. If we wanted to be friends with someone, we just talked to them and became friends; perhaps we positioned ourselves favorably in history class so we could have a reason to speak to them. But we spoke to them. Directly. Like human beings. We experienced things in real-time instead of spending so much time documenting it all. I hope someday we as a society will learn to balance our use of social media and be normal people again. Let’s bring back the Art of Conversation.

Today I am Grateful for…

I am grateful to see my baby’s growth. At 8 months she is learning so many new things. This makes it easier to accept her sleep regression. She was sleeping through the night for months, and the past couple of weeks I’ve been up three times a night. I’m a zombie. But… I’m a zombie that gets to see her healthy baby learning to crawl, trying new foods, attempting new consonants in that sweet baby babble. I am tired but I am grateful.