(This photo is *not* from a fancy date night, but it is from our most recent date night, our annual neighborhood Mardi Gras party, the night I earn back all our homeowners’ association dues by eating my weight in crab legs.)
Most years, Alex and I celebrate Valentine’s Day by sitting on the couch. That’s it. Just sitting. We make zero plans, have zero celebrations, and exert zero energy. Valentine’s Day has become the annual night when we do as little as possible and tell Romantic Expectations to eat it. Date nights for big holidays can be more trouble than they’re worth.
A few years ago, though, after a month of family-building, child-rearing hilarity, we decided that we needed a night out sans kids to remember how much we love each other and occasionally still want to make out. As the completely brain-fried individual that I was, I knew this night out must require very little effort to plan or I would give up before I could open Google on my phone.
The universe must’ve agreed that we needed a night out, because the first babysitter I texted said yes. I mean, really?!?! I pulled off a last minute attempt at a babysitter with zero effort? I grabbed a reservation at a yummy restaurant and tickets to an improv show, and we were set. And I hadn’t even gotten off the couch. God bless the internet.
The big day came, and my kids were jumping up and down at the chance to play with the babysitter they hadn’t seen in awhile. And probably thrilled to get a break from their boring parents. Magic Sitter showed up with a bag full of toys; I had pizzas, cookies, and pink lemonade. The kids got busy for some fun of their own.
I donned sequins and grabbed my Mommy’s Going Out purse (You know, the one with no extra room for Matchbox cars and wipes). The kids barely said ‘bye and I hustled out without making too much eye contact. I think we were all trying to move past The Incident from earlier, when my two oldest walked in on me naked singing Hillsong at the top of my lungs. (If you’ve read my essays in The Magic of Motherhood, I need you to know that this is an entirely different story of accidental nudity. Apparently this happens a lot around here.)
This is why I never shower at five o’clock at night. This is why I’ll lock the door from now on. It happened in slow motion. They stood there staring, and I calmly said, “Please leave.” Nothing. “Pleeeezzz leeeeevvv.” They turned, walked out the door, and now they’re probably scarred for life.
So I was even more excited to get the heck outta Dodge and slid into the front seat of the minivan, on the passenger side, because I had a hot date and not carpool. KEEP READING