This past weekend didn’t exactly turn out as planned.
Since I had a less than stellar Friday afternoon in the emergency room with the kids getting stitches on Annabel's eyebrow, I had much higher hopes for Saturday. After all, Charlie was chosen by his coach to play in the All Star baseball games. We’re so proud of him, and we really enjoy watching his baseball games on Saturday afternoons in the summer. To top off the perfect summer baseball afternoon, Bill and I also scheduled babysitting for the kids in the evening. We planned on going downtown to eat, preferably to a restaurant with an outdoor patio so we could enjoy each other’s company, alfresco and child-free. Baseball during the day, and cocktails and dinner (that I didn't have to cook) with the man that I love in the evening? Can you think of a more perfect day?
We loaded up the whole family and one very nervous ballplayer, and headed to the fields, despite the fact that the sky was looking rather gray and ominous. Charlie was scheduled to play three games on Saturday and he would be done around 3 or 4 p.m. His first game was finished by 10:30 a.m., and then the skies opened up. And I mean opened. up. There was thunder, lightning, winds, and torrential downpours of rain.
Of course, we left the fields (along with about the other 300 people assembled there) and headed back home to wait out the storm. Charlie, being the baseball devotee that he is, started crying, “I WANT TO PLAY BASEBALLLLLLLLL!!! THIS ISN’T FAIR! I’LL PLAY IT IN THE RAIN! I DON’T CARE IF THE FIELDS ARE SLIPPERY AND MUDDY!”
Eight-year old boys don’t care about silly little inconveniences like potentially getting struck by lightning as they swing a metal bat in a big open field. They just care about doing what they want to do when they want to do it. So Bill and I just ignored his whining as we waited at home for the skies to clear and the coach to call and give us the thumbs up that it was okay to return.
Finally, we got the call and we trudged the whole family back to the muddy fields, once again carrying our chairs, bags, and other accoutrement. (i.e. loads of unnecessary crap) At this point, it was already 3:00, and he was scheduled to play at 3:30 and again at 5:30. My heart sunk a little bit as I realized that the romantic date Bill and I had planned for the evening probably was not going to happen. I had to call and cancel our plans.
I needed this date with my husband. Date nights are few and far between around our house since we have very busy weekends. We have to make out-of-town trips on the occasional weekend to visit family, and of course, there’s the trouble it takes to find a good, reliable babysitter for four children. Being at home all day with the four of them in the summer makes me crave this alone time with Bill even more.
Date night is that shot-in-the-arm of our marriage that keeps it strong. It helps us reconnect and have fun with each other. I love when I have those moments that I remember why I chose this man to spend my life with. He’s a handsome, funny and charming guy, but that can get lost in all the carpooling, bathtime and minutiae of the chores and duties that running this family of ours entails.
Bill and I have gotten creative over the years and when we can’t go out on the town for an actual date, we make date nights happen at home by cooking a dinner later in the evening with each other after the kids go to bed. Or we just drink a bottle of wine together and talk. Last weekend we watched “Superbad” and drank a bottle of Pinot Grigio. (Raunchy but totally hilarious movie, by the way.) Sounds exciting, huh? I thought it was. It’s funny what you find romantic when you have four kids. You catch moments together when you can.
In other words, “romantic” takes on a whole new meaning.
Don’t get me wrong. Bill and I are closer and more connected now than when we first got married. Having kids took us from being a couple, to being a team. We’re no longer the self-absorbed twentysomethings whose biggest decision was what restaurant we were going to go to on a Saturday night. (Although I kinda miss those twentysomethings sometimes.) Now we’re financially responsible thirtysomethings who always have to think of the big picture. And when we go out together sans children, it must be planned days and sometimes weeks in advance.
I didn’t have much time to think about being disappointed in the date-night-that-wasn’t-to-be, however.
After the rainy baseball games on Saturday, we were wearing water-logged, muddy clothing, we were tired and everyone was hungry at the same time. We ate a mish-mash dinner of whatever we could find in the fridge, wrangled each child to the shower or the tub, and then popped “Night at the Museum” into the DVD player for an impromptu family movie night. The whole family piled into our bedroom to watch the show.
That wasn’t exactly the bedroom action I was hoping for. And the only panties on the floor that night were George’s “Yoda, Jedi-Master” underpants that he dropped by the side of our bed as he changed into his Pull-Up for the night.
It was about 9:00 p.m. when we got the last child off to their bed. I tried to strike up a conversation with Bill in our bed, but he was so tired that he was half snoring and protesting, “Yeah…I’m…(snore)…still…awake…” and “yes…(snore)…I’m…still…listening….to…. you…”
The next thing I remember was the sun assaulting my eyelids to tell me that it was morning.
Niiiiice date night.
I felt like crying. I wanted to have an honest-to-goodness temper tantrum. I was angry at the stupid weather. If it hadn’t rained all day, Charlie would have had his games at the right time, and the schedule wouldn’t have been interrupted. Selfishly, I really wanted to go out the night before, instead of passing out at 9:15 p.m. I had a cute outfit picked out, and I wanted an excuse to do my hair and put more makeup on than my usual daily Chapstick.
But silly me, haven’t I done this parenting thing long enough (almost 9 years now) to know that things rarely go off exactly as planned?
I pouted for about 5 minutes (there’s not much time for these things with kids) and I finally stopped feeling sorry for myself. We had a great Saturday anyway, I reminded myself, and Charlie was happy to play his baseball game. We were happy to cheer him on. And my husband is still very much in love with me, and I with him. And “Night at the Museum” was pretty funny.
So I’ll stop my complaining now.
We’ll just have to try again another night.
I keep telling myself to enjoy these moments with the kids while they’re young. All too soon we’ll have date nights any old time we want to.
After all, they grow up too darn fast, and I know I’ll miss this one day.