I used to be a huge proponent of date night. I preached to family and friends about the importance of staying connected to your spouse, getting away from the chaos of the day-to-day and eating foie gras and brioche without having to chew it into a fine paste and spit it into a baby bird’s mouth, with discretion, obviously.
When a friend told me they had not been away from their kids for even a single night since the three of them had been born (TEN YEARS AGO!) my knees gave out and I fell straight into the champagne fountain.
I used to be a date-night pusher. But now, I’m not so sure I subscribe.
My kids used to get angry when we went places without them. One of them cried, “It’s not fair! You went to Japan, Monaco, Florida and Costco—without us!!” I think it was the free samples that stung the most.
Last weekend, Greg and I were invited to a gala. It’s a funny word that draws all kinds of unnecessary formality but that didn’t stop this Mom from doing what all super formal people do. I took my minivan straight to Marshall’s, used my frequent shopper/loyalty card so I could try on dozens of sub-$50 dresses and get my fancy on.
When I arrived home with two dresses I loved (two, because it’s Marshall’s and if you don’t grab everything you even sort of like, secret shoppers snag them before you hit the parking lot), I eagerly asked for the kids to gather round the cauldron and cast their votes.
“You look like a tablecloth.”
“Can I see the other one?”
“Um….is there a third option?”
Off we went to the ball. I felt comfortable in my dress and made a lovely, linen, wrinkle and stain retardant backdrop for the food. I did have a moment of reflection just before leaving when I said to Greg, “I feel like I look like I’m aging.” He didn’t look up from his ear grooming station and said, “I don’t think you look Asian.” We both laughed and quickly forgot what we had been talking about.
Don’t get me wrong, going out is awesome. Or maybe the idea of going out is awesome. I picture strawberries dipped in chocolate and trays of profiteroles. Wait staff following my every move and adjusting their dining room frogger-route to correspond perfectly with my peckish, snacking needs.
It is so nice to be out with other adults.
Taking an Uber so we can sip wine and laugh is the best.
It sure would be nice if we could sleep in tomorrow. But we can’t. We’re parents.
Upon our arrival home (and this is where things always fall apart), turning the corner onto our block, I sensed a thick, je ne sais quoi in the air. Werther’s candy fire? The smell of sticky counters seeped into the garage and before we could get out of the car, I wondered if a Cinnabon had opened in our neighbourhood between the hours we left the house and when we returned.
In we walked to all of the lights on in the house, even those inside cupboards and closets I didn’t realize were wired for lighting. This would of course be okay if someone had been awake and required copious amounts of electricity for their thesis or if the kids were shooing a large animal out of the house and their only line of defense was that the animal could only survive and/or attack in complete darkness.
The kitchen counter littered with Chelsea bun frozen containers (no idea how old they were and what freezer they were scavenged from), 74 drinking glasses with varying levels of cloudy liquids, plates, crusts, crumbs and oh right, AN ENTIRE UNEATEN PIZZA. Just sitting there. A pizza. Cooked. Cold. On. The. Counter. Yuck. WTF?
Ten years you say?
And this is the evidence they were okay with us finding! What have they deemed unfit for us to see? Did they find this year’s Christmas presents? Any of last years I forgot about?
As I knelt down to scan my cream coloured
tablecloth dress for cream cheese icing and the fur of a family of black bears, I noticed a puddle of water under the fridge. It has to have been ice that melted. I’ve walked directly into that riddle where the block of ice melts so the evidence has been altered and no one knows how the person climbed up onto something or how the drink was poisoned—but that might be the wine talking.
Oh, and now, those two glasses of wine I sipped with arrogant nonchalance with that goofy, naïve, happy-face (I’d now like to throat punch), while toasting friends and raising money for……cancer? are causing my head to pound and my heart to race.
I don’t mean to sound defeatist. Who doesn’t love strapping two already sopping wet tea towels (WHY ARE THESE WET?!!!) onto freshly pedicured feet and slipping around the kitchen to absorb at least a whisper of what went on here tonight?
The kids and their newly forming cavities are snug in their beds. Not a creature is stirring. They must have gotten them all out.