“The Do-Over Date” by contributing blogger Kristin VanderHey ShawPosted by Catherine on July 16, 2012
Two weeks ago, we had a date night planned on a Saturday night. I had asked our former nanny to babysit and we headed out. For whatever reason, we were stressed and edgy, and we didn't connect. In fact, we did the opposite of connect - we butted heads for two hours with intermittent episodes of usual conversation. Frustrated, we gave up and came home early.
Later that week, my husband said to me, "Would you ask Rebecca to sit sometime this weekend? I'd really like a do-over date." She agreed to sit for us on Friday, and he asked me to wear something "dressy". As I got ready for our do-over date, I was surprised to find that I had butterflies in my stomach. I dressed in a linen skirt, shimmery top, and silver sandals and was ready to go at the end of my work day.
We headed out before 5 PM. Our dates are always early, from 5-8 PM. Our favorite time of the night is putting our two-year-old to bed, and we each have a role to play in the bedtime sequence, alternating seamlessly. It's a synchronized dance we all enjoy, and in most cases, we wouldn't give it up for a late date. Bonus: because we're eating dinner during the "blue-hair special" hours, we never have to wait for long for a table.
Meandering through back roads, Will said that he wanted to recapture some of the feelings of our first visits to Austin and our early dates here, and we drove for nearly an hour before we arrived at our dinner location, relaxed and connected. Even though I had to send my dinner back because it had chopped walnuts hiding in the greens even after telling the waiter I had a nut allergy, we were happy and smiling through our date.
The do-over date was a success and achieved our objective: to connect and be happy in each others' company. Now we take turns planning dates for each other once a month, and Saturday nights have been reserved as "technology free" time for us to put away our phones and laptops and focus on each other. Each of us has a full time job plus other activities to keep us busy all week long, and taking this time for each other is important.
I still have mom guilt when I leave our son behind, even for a few hours. I'd go so far to say that my husband and I have a strong enough relationship that date nights are not critical for our survival as a couple, but it does add something special; a magical, ultra-focused time together. Now that we're parents, and late-in-life parents at that, our style is more home-based. We love to be with our son and are happy spending most nights with him.
And once a month, dates like our do-over date a few weeks ago give us a boost and help us remember the beginning of this fantastic journey as a family, with just the two of us.
Kristin is a mother of a sweet 2-year-old boy and wife to a fantastic 6th-generation Texan, living in Austin, Texas. Loves: her baby boy, airplanes, airports, classic cars, sports, Italy, and dessert; not necessarily in that order. You can reach her also via Twitter@AustinKVS.