A few years ago I wondered if love was just out of my reach. Then I looked up from my wonder and love was standing there in front of me smiling.
In the final days of summer, with cooler mornings and mild afternoons, when the sun is just high enough to wrap its warmth in our squinting eyes, my husband and I celebrated our love. On our special day, he dressed up for me in his crisp white shirt and decorated shoulders. I wore wine colored heels and a smile. There was a moment of pause as we honored the lives lost on this day and honored each other—love.
We sat on the patio so we could look at each other under the bending stems and flat green leaves, our table just inches from where we stood a few years ago and said, “I do.” We spoke under our breaths between the swirl of sourdough in tomato stained olive oil, and slow bites of farfalle and chicken, crab cake and slaw. I had forgotten we sometimes need reassurance, the sound of water rhythm running in the stream beside us. It reminded me of patience; something love and time are teaching me.
It was over dessert and a single flame that we leaned in towards each other, closed our eyes, and wished together first in silence, then gathered our hands and shared our hope out loud with each other and in gesture with those around us. I wish you love on this day, and our love together, every day thereafter.
Dinner at downtown’s De-Novo was a crisp bottle of Santa Margharita pinot, an exotic course of Kangaroo (I was skeptical, but it was delicious), a main course of Chilean sea bass and pomegranate-glazed salmon, and for dessert, tiramisu. Conversation was cautious and easy across the flickering globe centered at our table. Dining near the window was a view of the city’s green space commons, a cozy but lively patio during happy hour, and a random ride by a few dozen ladies cycling through the center of the city at dusk. We were whispering thoughtful words caught between our lips, our busy lives; and the warm glass glow.
Since the baby was born (nearly three months ago) and with the other two boys as busy as ever, my husband and I haven’t had much time with “just us”. So we put the boys to bed with a sitter, dressed up, and didn’t look back. I don’t believe in (mommy) guilt on a date night, especially while seated cozy in the window at nightfall accompanied by a bottle of wine and some real adult conversation, (the cute guy sitting next to me doesn’t hurt either). Friday or Saturday dining out would have been nice (but much more busy), so I’ll take a light crowd, good food and music on a Wednesday any time. When in doubt go on a midweek date night; sometimes waiting until Friday or Saturday just won’t do.
It’s been ten long years since Sade swayed her lovely across a stage in my part of the country. However last night she did not only that but reminded me why her music is simply timeless, sexy, and cool. She was classy draped in modern black and strappy heels as she marched out to open the show with “Soldier of Love”. And with every subtle wardrobe change later, she sang us a storybook of memories. By the end of the show, she was barefoot (I told my husband she would be, but he didn’t believe me) and sparkled in a clinging long silvery gown. Her airy soothing voice was wrapped with a collage of horns, strings, keys, and rhythms, her all male band wore crisp tailored blacks and grays as the music from their mouths, hands, and fingers filled every crevice of the arena.
Up close, the lights and textured details were like a visual narrative, each image crisp and dimensional, each note soft and warm. I imagine Sade in concert is for holding hands (or gaze) in public, closing eyes and trusting the music, or for close hip sway. Pale confetti rained on stage as we knew our time was coming to an end. But the crowd clapped and screamed, and urged her encore out. She replied dressed in red, as she sang “No Ordinary Love” poached high above the sea of screams.
In a daze of exhaustion the morning after, I thought about Sade in concert as I dressed for work earlier today. Her music, the words remind me how many times you can explore love and still never capture its bounds. I’ve been humming her soul in my head all day.
Snapshot #4: Add to your date repertoire, redefine quality time
Date night is an important commitment in our relationship but sometimes we have to weigh the cost of a sitter with the cost of the entire date. Sometimes the numbers just don’t add up. Now, to be clear, my husband is no cheap date and he knows I like the finer things, but we both know we have to think wisely about how we date these days and get a little more creative. For instance, I should think of time with my husband as more of the “finer thing” rather than where or how we spend that time as the finer thing. Don’t get me wrong, we’re a fairly chic couple who likes a fun night out, but in this time of economic uncertainty, we’re redefining our “nights out” and how often we partake in them. So for now, maybe instead of weekly (or even a few times a week on a good week) evening date nights to fancy places, we’re a little more creative, simple, and spontaneous. Hey, we still like to hang out in the city, and that’s not going to change—I think we’re just going to add to our date repertoire, redefine quality time. For instance, a few weeks ago we carpooled and had breakfast which we never get a chance to do any more, and the other day we met for lunch— nothing fancy, just lunch, and each other.
On second thought, maybe we’ll start all this “new dating” after the Sade concert on Saturday…I don’t want my husband to get any ideas. I’m still up for a Sade concert any day—babysitter included (smile).
No not alcohol induced, wide awake kid induced. This morning we wondered if date night was really worth it when our 19-month-old woke up at 4am. *sigh*
“Date night” (when you have kids) is a highly synchronized operation. Once you secure a sitter you’re only half way there. The “dance out the door” is a much more complex choreographic endeavor. Getting out the house without crying and clinging kids is tricky. As soon as the babysitter comes over, the kids sense the inevitable. We feel bad, but our relationship is just as important and we have to remember that. As soon as our shoes click against the wood floors, the kids ambush us; employing every trick they can fathom to delay us from leaving. But remember, never underestimate distraction. There is this dance we do, and timing is everything. On a good night the sitter temporarily takes the kids to the back room for a snack, a book, or a little song and dance. We sneak out the door undetected, breathe a sigh of relief, and we’re on our way.
But last night we forgot something at home (of course)…
We had parked and were walking through the brisk night air towards the theater when I reached in my clutch and realized that I didn’t have the tickets. Yes, I left them at home in my other purse. All that coordination for nothing, we needed to go back… The show started at 7:00pm, it was 7:02pm, and we live 15 minutes away. There was silence all the way back to the car and most of the way back home until my husband finally put his hand on my knee and said, “Take a deep breath, it’s o.k.” We called our sitter (a dear friend of ours) and she left the tickets in the mailbox for us. That was easy (sort of).
I guess that’s what date night is all about, why it’s so important to keep that connection. And even when things go awry, date night is about pushing through the awkward, challenging moments and having a good time no matter what. It’s worth it.
What we did (date night ideas)…
Alfonso and I had a double dose of date night this past weekend, Friday night we attended Let Me down Easy (Anna Deavere Smith) at the Lincoln Theatre, followed by dinner downtown at Due Amici. Saturday night we hung out with a couple of friends and caught Not So Fast at the Wexner Center (Bill Frisell), followed by dinner just east of downtown at Indian Oven.