Tonight is date night. Stuart and I went years without taking a date night in almost any form, unless you count trips to the grocery store – with all the children – as a date. I certainly don't. But tonight is the night that we look forward to the most, because it's a night when we get to tuck away from the dirty dishes and dirty children (not that we don't love those things…). We go out on Tuesdays. It's not a fancy day like Friday or Saturday, just a normal ‘ol day. But man alive, do I ever look forward to Tuesdays. It's date night, baby.
I only have one basic expectation on date night, regardless of where we go or what we do: I want to see Stu. I want to stare at him while he talks in complete sentences and uninterrupted. Sometimes, even though we parent alongside one another all day, I realize how much I miss him. The days of spending hours in silence but in one another's company are long gone. Gone too are the days of deep conversations when the mood strikes (or really any conversation for that matter). Having four children means there are four other little souls with a lot to say, which is a beautiful thing, but I fell in love with this particular man and often I find myself longing for more of him. I want to know what's on his mind… what he's pondering… what he's feeling. Every seventh word of our normal conversations, we're interrupted, as a little person strives to make known how they feel and what's on their mind. I get it. I just miss getting to focus on Stuart.
Hey kiddos! Let's not interject our every thought into conversations anymore, okay? Even if you're “so, so excited”. There's this super important person to me – you may know him as your father – and I'd really, really like to hear what he has to say. It's called adult conversation. And we need it to stay alive.
But as life goes, the 7, 5, 3, and 1 year old just can't quite control themselves from interjecting into every conversation.
Me: Stu, get this! Julie called me and…
Kid #1: Who's that? Who are you guys talking about?
Stuart: Alright love, let's hit up Lowe's first and then we can swing back around to…
Kid #2: Where are we going? I thought you said we were going there. Are we not going there anymore?
Me: Stu, do you ever feel like…
Kid #3: Mommy, Owen's breathing too loud by me.
Stuart: Hey love, what did you do with that…
Kid #4: AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
It's fine. I love this mess of rascals that we live with day in and day out and wouldn't trade the noise and sanctification journey for anything in the world. I just need to tuck away, for a few hours, on date night. On Tuesday. To see my man.
Oh hey there good lookin'. Whatcha got cookin'? How's about cookin' something up with me?
On date night, we don't do anything really fancy. “Miss Taylor” comes to watch the kids for a few hours and we drive away with smoking tires (kidding. sort of). Sometimes Taylor comes early so we can run errands sans kids – now that is heaven. Do you know how much more fun stores are without kiddos? A million times more fun.
We are creatures of habit and often find ourselves at the same restaurant each week, often sitting in the same spot and ordering the same beverages. But so what! I don't need adventure or fireworks each week. I need a few breaths alone where we can remember how it all started. A few moments to see into him deeper for the wonderful and charming man that he is, not as just another adult to help me change dirty diapers.
And so we talk. We talk about the big things that have been on our hearts. We challenge each other, knowing we have the time needed to have a proper rebuttal. We clean our minds of what has needed to be said and what we feel led to discuss. Sometimes, we don't speak at all for long moments but we hold hands. It's a thing of beauty.
Strange as it may seem, our time with our children is short. Eventually they'll grow and begin their separate lives (wahhh!) and for many years, Lord willing, it will just be me and this guy. There will be a day when conversations aren't interrupted by wrestling children or impromptu dance performances. What will be left with be the interactions with the children we've raised (by God's grace)… and each other. Caring for that relationship is of the utmost importance.
Plus, I kinda like the guy.
So cheers! It's Tuesday. It's date night. I'll drink an IPA, Stu will drink some French wine, and we'll toast to another beautiful week full of little voices, full days, and bursting hearts. And the blessing of each other.