My Apple Watch buzzed my wrist at about 10:35 that Friday morning. That was nothing new, though. My sisters and I were famous for having these texting sprees that would go on and on to the point where I would sometimes take off my watch, the buzzing drove me so crazy. (Yes, I do realize that I could’ve turned off the notifications, but that would’ve been too easy.)
I glanced down and saw that this text, though, was not from one of my sisters. It was from my husband.
That’s odd, I thought. Usually we don’t text about the evening’s plans until later in the afternoon.
Impromptu date nights are cool.
I tapped on the watch face and read…
I have a plan for us tonight. Be here at 5:30 looking as hot as you did the other night!
There was a map attached that showed a restaurant at the fancy mall in town. You know the kind. The ones that are all outdoors and have shops like Louis Vuitton and Coach and Tory Burch all mixed in with your run of the mill American Eagle and Loft. You know…the fancy mall.
Anyway, with a gigantic idiot-grin on my face, I texted him back…
Ummmm. OK! I’ll give it my best shot! 😊
…and then immediately proceeded to text my sisters and a couple friends that I was slightly freaking out. What should I wear? What did they think we were going to do? I mean, Greg didn’t give me much information. Were we going to stay at the mall? Have dinner? See a movie? Go shopping?
This was a highly unusual situation, friends.
And not only was I a hot mess of questions and emotions, confusion and elation going hand in hand, I was terribly excited! Date night, here we come!
Now, I must take a second and set the record straight. My husband is an incredibly generous planner. He likes to surprise me with nice things on a fairly regular basis. I mean, my Christmas gift last year was a weekend in Colorado! And, for that matter, date night in and of itself is not a completely uncommon occurrence for us. We don’t go out just the two of us nearly as often as I would like (or nearly as often as we should), but we do get out from time to time. Especially since our kids have gotten old enough to babysit each other! But that’s another story for another time.
What was different about this, to my mind anyway, is that it was generally unprompted. Yes, we had discussed the possibility of a date night that weekend, but nothing had been set it stone. Usually our date night planning goes something like this:
Me: We should have a date night this weekend.
Him: Sure. What do you want to do?
Me: We could go out to dinner; maybe see a movie?
Him. OK. Well, there’s nothing playing this weekend I want to see. Where do you want to gofor dinner?
Me: I don’t know. You’re the one who knows the good restaurants. Where should we go? I mean, it doesn’t have to be fancy.
Him: Alright. I’ll think about it.
Then we either go to a restaurant or to a movie and that’s that. Although, sometimes, we get really wild and crazy and throw in a trip to Lowe’s or Home Depot!
But I digress.
It’s GO time.
At 5:00 that evening, I was ready to walk out the door. Bold lipstick? Check. Hair curled the way he likes it? Check. Wearing an appropriately dressy, ready for anything outfit of white skinny jeans and a slouchy denim top with maybe one extra button unbuttoned for the occasion? Check.
I spritzed on some perfume, kissed the kids, laid down the law for the evening, grabbed my bag and ran out the door like the house was on fire.
Thirty minutes later, I pulled up to the restaurant. He had arrived just ahead of me, so I saw him walk through the door. Then I checked my lipstick in the rearview mirror and gave my hair a quick toss before I followed him in.
The maître d. was at his podium greeted me as I entered the restaurant. As he saw me scan the room, he asked if I was meeting anyone.
“Yes,” I said, smiling. “I’m with him.”
Moms need date nights, too.
I kid you not. That evening, I felt more like a real-live grown-up than I had all week long.
Never mind that I had spent a week doing all of the normal “mom things” – things like grocery shopping and paying bills, carpooling, helping with homework, putting out all sorts of metaphorical teenage fires. Nah.
This night out, this night that he had planned just for me, this night I felt like a grown-up.
Not only did I feel grown-up, but I felt special…wanted…appreciated…sexy. Who knew that something so ordinary as drinks, shopping, and dinner could do that? I’m a 42-year-old woman, for goodness’ sake! Theoretically, I could do that any old time I wanted, right?
Of course, I could. But if I planned it, it wouldn’t have been the same, now would it? No, ma’am, it would not. And that is what made all the difference.
The journey continues.
Pope Francis said, “It’s an art to live together, a patient, beautiful and fascinating journey. It doesn’t end when you have won each other. Instead, it’s really then that it begins!”
Always be journeying together, friends. Always be looking for the next big-little thing that’s going to add some fascination to your lives. Even if it’s “just” a date night, “just” a night of drinks and shopping and dinner.
The art of living together is found when we truly see the person in front of us and not only acknowledge their needs, but strive to meet those needs joyfully, generously, selflessly. That’s where the fun begins.
A Prayer for Date Night:
Dear Lord, thank You for this time You’ve given us to be with one another. Please let our time together tonight be fruitful for our marriage. Let us enjoy each other’s company and grow ever closer to You and to each other.
Also, Lord, we ask that you graciously watch over the howler monkeys we call children whom we left at home. Grant that the frozen pizza I put in the oven nourish their growing bodies. May they not kill, maim, or otherwise permanently harm one another. May they not watch anything they shouldn’t watch on TV. And may the house still be standing when we return home.
And all God’s people said…Amen.