We were roughly 5 minutes from home for our date night and we were still talking about money, the kids, and the upcoming work week. I was looking up where to park the car downtown on the i-phone as my husband was trying to figure out which bank branch in town we should stop to withdraw cash from.
I became irritated talking about the upcoming week’s budget and rather curtly said to my husband:
‘We have to stop this. Now. I’m so sick of talking about money, the budget, and planning. Why in the hell am I planning where to park? What is my problem we used to just go and be! We get there, we drive around and park the damn car, that’s it-we just do it. Let’s go and exist for once, you and me, like when it was just you and me. Let’s do whatever we want. We are free tonight. I want to relax. I need to relax. I am not going to plan how many drinks I will have. I am not going to plan where to sit before we get there.’
‘You are right, what is our problem? Let’s just go have fun. I don’t know why we do this, we never get a date night. You are right, let’s just go be together.’
So we did.
We walked around the water canals , enjoying the last hint of warmth on our skin. I spread a blanket out in a tree-filled grassy area outside the venue and I laid down with my head on his chest. Cuddling in public, smelling his beard, feeling the cool wind on my arms. This was a moment with a tiny hint of magic in it. It reminded me of a time early in our courtship when we walked to a local elementary school park and lay there talking for hours; watching the stars appear like pin holes, dotting the dusky blue sky.
Yesterday evening, we watched as tiny brown ants crawled on our blanket and observed them through the eyes of a toddler. We mused how children see the world from a completely different perspective than we do. Toddlers appear so busy, but they are the ones who take the time to watch the ants, not us. We took silly pictures. We did downward dog yoga poses, crunches, and leg lifts laughing the whole time thinking that people were watching these two ‘thirty somethings’ act odd.
We ended up sitting in the lawn area among the teenagers and 20-somethings although we had paid for VIP seating. We bonded with the guy behind us that I caught photobombing a picture, but then he kindly offered to take a picture for us. He was 36 to which my husband said, ‘I win, I’m 37’ and we talked about being the oldest people there, the clothing choices of the younger generation, our children, about watching My Little Pony cartoons and how we used to watch more violent television when we were young. I recalled watching Star Wars with my parents and how violent we realized ‘Snow White’ was when we read it to our son last week.
Were we there for the music? Of course, but we were also there to channel the feeling of freedom again. As full time working parents, this is entirely vital to keep a relationship from developing a feeling of entropy, of weight. It allows your spouse to be reminded how funny you can be around other adults or how silly you may act when you don’t think the neighbors are watching.
Alt J was bold and ethereal at the same time, their use of lighting and continuous set play with little break time contributed to a continuous ambiance. Around 10:30, my husband wrapped my shoulders in a blanket and drew me in close to him and whispered to me ‘Do you want to go soon?’ We left before the concert was over but departed satisfied. We inhaled the cool September air and ended the evening quickly treading to our car wondering how the kids acted at bedtime, discussing how next year we should take them to the Irish Festival.
My husband remarked how bonded he felt to me the entire evening and this was just what we needed, an ‘entire’ night out, not just an hour or two for lunch, a complete 6 hours to simply be S and B again. A throwback to when it was just us against the world and not us and the responsibility of two humans to provide for.
Of course, waking up this morning to my children and a lazy Sunday ‘watching’ football and cooking, with the smell of clove and cinnamon pumpkin spice in the air; is exactly where I want to be.
We created a memory last evening, one that we keep a ticket as a physical memento in a shadow box, that we can recall the next time we have an argument over something trivial or mundane. It’s surprising the topics that are not breached during a normal evening alone with your spouse. It’s invigorating to really go out and view your spouse as a unique individual that is exciting to be around, funny, and genuinely charming.