Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Last week was rough.  If you couldn't tell from my gripe-a-licious post from last week, my girls were really putting me through the wringer.  At one point, when I was at my wit's end and tired and grumpy and far, far, far behind on laundry...my husband came home and I nearly collapsed at his feet in desperation for a quiet moment.  I said "What are you doing Friday night?" to which he replied, "I don't know, nothing?" and I quickly took a moment to lock down a babysitter for a date night.

We seriously needed a few hours away.  Somewhere between Valentine's day and Easter we had let the days slip by without a scheduled time to get OUT of the house and be alone together as a couple.  That's FAR too long for my preference, and so without further adieu I anchored down a date night with less than 48 hours notice.  Nothing planned.  No agenda.  All I had was a babysitter booked and a handsome husband on my arm.  Sounded good to me!

Friday night came, and I still had no idea what to do with the evening ahead.  Then I noticed that Jurassic Park was being re-released in 3D to celebrate its 20th Anniversary.  (Side note - How can this possibly be true?  TWENTY years?!  Am I the only one who still thinks of this as a film that used "new" technology and am still feeling cool when I quote it at the drop of a hat?  Okay, apparently I am.  Yikes, time flies.)

I LOVE(d) Jurassic Park.  I was 12 when it came out (crazy) and for some reason, my parents allowed me to go with my brother and sister and a good family friend to see it at the theater on opening night.  It is a defining movie-seeing-memory of mine, one filled with awe and wonder that I hold with much nostalgia to this day.  I can still remember sorting through Jelly Bellies (Is this jalepeno or apple?) in the dim light of the theater and feeling the hairs stand up on the back of my neck when I saw the dinosaurs for the first time in that classic, epic reveal.  Amazing!

I know I look frightened.
The flash was BRIGHT!
I remember that, oh-so-long-ago, my cousin and I got pretty obsessed with that movie.  I spent a week or so in Austin that summer, and it was playing at a dollar-discount theater not far away.  This was heaven to a couple of bored twelve-year-olds, and so we saw it multiple times that week.  Yes, it was just as awesome each and every time.  Good memories.

So, here I was, seeing it in the theater again, this time in 3D and with the love of my life.  I felt those giddy "tween" butterflies of being at the movies.  I reminisced about being young, and it was fun to be thrilled by little things again (Popcorn! A cute date! The big screen! 3D glasses! Epic soundtrack!)  My husband and I were like silly teenagers again, and it was a blast to relive this experience as an adult with him.  And, seeing the film in 3D was giving me a whole new perspective on a lot of things...not just dinosaurs.

Date nights can be a lot like 3D glasses.  I mean, yes, I was literally wearing 3D glasses, okay...but, go with me for a second on this.  Life goes and goes and goes and goes and doesn't stop.  You live and share life with your spouse day in and day out and you both so very often feel like "you have no idea how hard my day was".  Whew.  Truly, both of us really do know how hard the day was, but it is too often difficult in very different ways.  He has the pressure of provision, the traffic, the awkward co-worker or the late meeting.  I have the diaper changes, the incessant whining, the stress of keeping things clean, the constant lack of space or quiet.

Then, evening comes, the kids get put in bed, and it's easy to think for a moment that date nights just aren't worth it.  Often it will even cross my mind "Why waste the money?  We are fine right here.  The girls are asleep, we'll just watch tv and chill and that's basically the same thing as a date."  Right?  Are you with me on this?

And then...I actually just GET OUT and have a for real date and I'm instantly reminded of its importance.  Ahhhhhhhhh...can you hear that?  No?  Nothing?  Exxxxxactly.  Because there is no sound of children, and better yet, no possibility for the sound of children for the next few hours.  And as I look over at my husband, he becomes my DATE for the evening.  He's no longer the guy-who-takes-out-the-trash or the guy-who-forgot-to-buy-milk or the guy-who-helped-do-the-dishes or the guy-who-reads-the-best-bedtime-stories-to-our-girls.  Those are all fine and dandy parts of who he is...but, sometimes it's just good to relieve him of all those duties and become a silly tween with him and go giggle at dinosaur movies and steal a kiss between handfuls of popcorn.  Sometimes I need to just DATE my husband and get out of the rut that life keeps us in.

Don't get me wrong...I love that rut.  I chose it.  I adore it. I wouldn't change it for the life of me.  But, can we all just admit that there are times that we look around and think "Oh man, if I have to fold laundry, wash sippy cups, match up baby socks, relax vicariously through watching one more sitcom and fix chicken one more night I'm going to scream!" Yes.  Indeedy.  Rightio.  The mundane catches up to me and I'm only a hop, skip, and a jump from taking it all for granted.

It's always a wonder to me how a short evening away can set it all straight again.  Dinosaurs in 3D and a plate of hot tacos later, I'm coming home happy and already missing my crazy girls.  I'm feeling understood, more-connected to my husband, and blessed by time that nurtured the thing that started it all:  us.

Josh and I have a lot in common.  We like a lot of the same movies, books, shows, and activities.  We share in many things, and we wouldn't have it any other way.  It's a priority of ours to keep it that way, and it doesn't come without practice.  As our days get busier and our children more demanding (at least, they seem more demanding by the day!) it can be so easy to depart from our togetherness and simply harness what sanity we have left to keep for ourselves out of sheer survival.  But, we are so much stronger as a team.

Looking at my husband through those silly 3D glasses reminded me just how much a little perspective can give me.  It's not enough to just say "this will do" or settle for saving a few bucks or staying in night after night after night because I'm too tired to even pick out clothes to go on a date.  No!  I'm not going to win any medals for having gone the longest without a date night or "surviving" this phase of life.  I will, however, gladly accept the reward of a happy husband, a calm spirit, and a refreshed perspective to want to be with my girls and take on the challenge/joy of raising them (come mountains of laundry or valleys of dishes).

Seeing Jurassic Park in 3D was just a silly example that maybe I hadn't truly seen the whole picture the first time around.  It may have been scarier than I remember (seriously, God, were Raptors that frightening?!) but, it was all the more satisfying to see in all it's "digitally-remastered" glory.

Coming home after a night out with the hubs gave my life a little bit more clarity as well.  I needed a new lens to see my husband through.  I needed to actually leave the premises with him and stare him in the face and reconnect away from the chaos.  I'm not saying you'll necessarily magically wake up loving to wipe toddler noses or vacuum Cheerios for the third time that day (that might require a month away to Maui or something!)  But, I certainly took on the next day with more enthusiasm and gratitude.

Who knew 3D glasses would help bring all that into focus?  Get out there.  Date your man.

Readers:  What's your favorite date night?  How do you stay connected outside of the chaos of your home?

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