Date nights. We’ve only had three in the nearly 11 months since Emerson joined our family. And, actually, they have been date days. With Silas, it wasn’t so bad because we gave each other a “night off” once a week where we could do whatever we wished, no matter what. With two, including a snobby eater who won’t take anything but fresh milk from his mama, we are finding nights off are nearly impossible. So we’ve started doing date nights “in.” We try to do something together at least once a week. Even that one paltry evening we find we have little energy to invest. There are bills to go through, chores to do, more work-work to do and there’s just really no more BRAIN left at the end of the day to stare lovingly into each other’s eyes. Or think. Or talk.
However, it’s also impossible to talk when you have a three year old and a baby constantly interrupting you in their adorable yet thought halting manner. Seriously, if there is ever a criminal mastermind the government is worried about defeating, just put them in front of a toddler and a baby… Their brainpower for scheming will immediately cease to exist.
So, a grandparent volunteered to watch the boys. Can you believe we actually debated letting her watch the boys while we mulched the yard?!?! The monster pile of mulch has been sitting in my driveway for two weeks. Untouched. I just keep practicing for a defensive driving test, driving around it, every time I come in or out of my garage. But finding something we both WANTED to do was so hard and there was so much we NEEDED to do. Go to the theater? The shows are too far away and/or don’t work with Emerson’s feeding schedule. Go see a movie? What?!?! There was so little we both wanted to see. On top of that, I think it might actually be easier to find the Holy Grail than a movie we were both interested in, which meshed with when a babysitter was available AND Emerson’s feeding schedule. Eating out? Ugh, that is all we ever do for entertainment.
In the end, we chose a movie (my husband took the hit for the team and we saw one I wanted to see) and had an early dinner. The movie was over by 4:30. We jointly decided we were too young to start eating that early and went for a walk. At first it was actually odd. Who was this stranger walking next to me?!?! I know him well. I sleep next to him every night. Yet we haven’t had a real conversation in months. The conversation started out slow but by the end of dinner we were chatting like it was old times. We had so many complete sentences I don’t think I can even count that high. Can I tell you how wonderful it is to have enough time without an interruption that you can finish a thought process?!?! Can I tell you how surprised I was to discover I am still CAPABLE of having a cogent thought?!?! Forget multiple orgasms. I want multiple complete sentences. I want complex thought. Forget tantric sex. I want tantric talk. It was fantastic. Yes, when you live in a land of abbreviated children’s stories in board books, rhyming songs, toddler vocabulary and baby talk your fantasies get downright kinky. And I don’t mean “Fifty Shades of Grey” kinky. I mean, really crazy things like waking up on your own, sleeping in, eating a whole meal while it is still hot, being able to take a shower AND wash your hair AND shave your legs, going out without looking like Bozo the Clown because you had a baby swinging on you like a monkey in a tree while you were doing your make-up, heading out for a few “quick” errands, and the piece de resistance, a conversation involving multiple complete sentences.
So we did it. We had a date day. It’s awfully easy to think your marriage can get through anything when you have dealt with infertility together. So much heartbreak. So much pain. So much innocent ignorance from others. So much wrangling over values, morals, ethics, religion. So much up and so much down. So much hope and so much fear. And, for us, finally joy. It was a battle that strengthened us as individuals as well as our marriage. I know we both felt our marriage could survive anything after we survived infertility. But, it only survived because we never stopped working through it together. If we aren’t careful, we could very easily lose what constitutes “us” as we focus all of our energy on the boys.
We started our date feeling a lot like strangers. We ended it the best of friends, yet again. Thad said he felt like we were headed into some very hectic times. I said, “Yes, and we’ll look back on them as the best of our lives. Because it will be like a busy day at work. Busy days are the best days. One day, we’ll wake up and they will be too busy for us. Another day, we’ll wake up and our sons will be gone.” And that is why we need to make room for date days. And date nights. Because after all is said and done, I want my husband to be my best friend. Not a stranger. We both know we are doing important work. We both know we are doing the hardest kind of work: Raising two healthy, secure and happy children. What we can’t lose sight of is the important work of maintaining our marriage. Loving each other, forever, is equally hard work. The rewards of each are soul satisfying.
So, no, we don’t come here often. But, my dear husband, my biggest umbrella of them all, we should and we will.