Ah, date night. I have a love-hate relationship with thee.
Funny, before Mike and I had kids, I’m sure we did things like go out to supper, go to movies and see concerts. But I don’t remember ever calling it “date night.” It was just a day in the life. Now, getting out without the kids for some — dare I say romantic? — adult time is somewhat rare and when we do make plans, it comes with oodles of advanced planning, days or weeks of anticipation and what amounts to be a heap of pressure to have the best. time. ever.
Fast forward seven+ years, and somehow date night has become a thing that is illusive and revered that when it appears, we treat it like something akin to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (something we need, something we want and yet something we can’t seem to bring to fruition).
Take Saturday, for example. Mike planned a date. Like, really planned. He even booked the sitter. It may be the first time in seven years of parenting that he booked the sitter. So it felt like a big deal out of the gate. In the best way. And we weren’t doing something we’d normally do, like see a movie. Nope, he upped the ante on this one. He booked us a canoe reservation for a sunset cruise down the Shubie Canal.
Right? I wasn’t kidding.
So I’m sure you can imagine how we were feeling when, 15 minutes after our reservation was due to start and more than an hour after the sitter-metre started running, we realized that no one was going to show up at the locked canoe-rental shop — our reservation somehow got lost in translation.
We put on a brave face and decided to enjoy a walk through the park anyway. We then hopped into the car and headed for our chosen restaurant, knowing the food would be awesome and we’d salvage our night out.
So I’m sure you can also imagine how we felt when we saw the line to said restaurant snaking out the door. Whether we should blame the lovely Saturday evening weather or the newly opened Ikea bringing throngs of people to the area, our search for subsistence carried on for the better part of an hour as restaurant after restaurant told us to expect wait times between 30 minutes to an hour. Admittedly, if we’d stayed put at the first restaurant, we’d probably have made it to a table in that amount of time, but we were frustrated and hungry and feeling a little desperate to find the perfect end to our not-so-perfect evening.
We ended up at a pub with a decent atmosphere and so-so food. We were stuffed when we left but still decided to stop at the grocery store for a bucket of ice cream on the way home, just in case we found room for dessert.
In the meantime, we also heard from the canoe-rental dude who was very apologetic. He offered us a free rental for Sunday, which didn’t feel like a whole lot of consolation at the time, considering we’d already paid a sitter and wouldn’t be booking her for a second evening. That adds to the pressure, btw. The fact that a five-hour date night that only amounts to dinner out costs more than $100.
Sunday morning brought new perspective. It was no longer date night (pressure was off) and the kids slept until 7:45 a.m. (oh unknowable universe!). The boys piled into our bed and the sun was streaming through the window and it felt like a perfect morning for a paddle.
And our date night lemons turned into the best family lemonade ever.