For Christmas, my beautiful, wonderful, generous, most-awesomest mother gave me and my hubby the very best gift ever: AN ENTIRE YEAR OF DATES. Twelve dates, one a month, for the next twelve months. Twelve blissful moments to sneak away from the everyday mayhem, twelve fun excursions for us to plan together, twelve times to celebrate being best friends. Twelve DATES.
The word DATE is almost a foreign concept for us anymore. We did the math and realized that last year, we’d gone on a whopping TWO dates. To be fair, there are several factors why we rarely go out. For one, have you noticed that even the most basic “dinner and a movie” date is anything but basic when it comes to the checkbook? Well, we have. Add in babysitting expenses for three kids, and you’re starting to compare a date night with the cost of replacing another pair of soccer shoes for the kids (I mean really, how many pairs of soccer shoes can one family have??). For another, last year we added crazy onto crazy and brought home two sweet and adorable, but very energetic, puppies who needed (still need) constant, vigilant attention as they clearly preferred (still prefer) the children’s socks, shoes, and stuffed animals over their own plastic, squeaky toys and chews. With a baby still nursing and just learning to crawl, and two older kids with intricately choreographed bedtime rituals, this equation usually scared off even the most intrepid babysitters, including Grandma! And finally, but not least, Bill and I just really like spending time with our family; we will usually choose a family movie night with the kids over going to dinner at the newest, swankest restaurant on any given weekend night.
But there’s something to be said for carving out time for the two of us.
And some healthy competition between an old married couple!
Which brings us to January, and Date #1: Breakfast and Bowling.
It turns out that West Seattle Bowl has this amazing Saturday morning special where, if you buy any breakfast entrée, you get two free games of bowling. I confess that my expectations were very low for breakfast at a bowling alley, but I was pleasantly surprised. Breakfast was tasty, the coffee was hot, the waitress was friendly, and the clean dining room had no resemblance to the dim, smoke-filled, sticky-beer-floor establishment that I’d envisioned. After some serious carbo-loading, we were ready for the games to begin.
Bill started out strong, rolling a strike right away. I was worried, and went in search of a new bowling ball, after putting two in a row in the gutter; if the pink one wasn’t working for me, maybe the green one would. Bill rolled two spares after the strike, started the trash talk (and backed it up with some more impressive scores), and in desperation, I returned to the pink ball. After several more gutter balls for me, Round 1 went to Bill, with a sizeable lead and an inflated ego.
Round 2-5, however – and I don’t mean to gloat, but I’m going to – were all mine, baby!! Oh yeah. I’m not saying I’m ready for the professional league, but by Round 5, after bowling several strikes, and some more trash talk, it was Bill who went in search of a new bowling ball. Alright, I confess that all that pride-cometh-before-a-fall stuff caught up to me in Round 6, and my lovely pink ball ended up in the gutter as often as in Round 1, but I’m good at blocking out bad memories, and I shall concentrate on the end results: Final score: 503-379. (Gloat gloat gloat!)
And this is why my husband is so wonderful: as disgruntled as he was that he never managed to recapture the glory of that first round, he still took a picture of the scoreboard to show the 5yo who had requested, when we left for our date, to know who won when we got home.
It turns out, it’s nice to have a date every once in a while, if only to be reminded that my husband will always be my biggest fan. And I will always be his.