109 Degree Date…by Aly

It’s all worth it.

After missing our date in May I felt like we really needed to do something special and different.  So I thought I would beat Kevin to the punch for a over the top romantic (within a tight budget) date for June. I had no idea what to do, and then the miracle of television provided an answer. I somehow caught a commercial for Clausen’s Inn on between folding laundry and Yoga Booty Ballet.  A weekend package included dinner at our favorite restaurant, champagne and strawberries, and, of course, breakfast.  Father’s Day was coming up, we still had not been on a June date, and I wasn’t about to buy him the yard yeti he wanted at the local garden store!

He really wants one…in OUR yard!

On Father’s Day I rolled up the reservations with a gold ribbon and presented my grand date gesture.  Surprise!  I hit a homerun!  He wasn’t expecting it at all.  Yay, me!  I can do this romantic thing… I just can’t keep it up very long; my pragmatic tendencies naturally come out.  Like many women in the “mommy mode,” I am good at survival, meeting basic needs, thinking of worst-case scenarios, and planning for disasters, or dinner, whichever comes first.  But I can do “romantic” for a day.

We made our date for June 29th, just under the wire.  Whew, back on good “Tired Dating” schedule.  Even the heat wasn’t going to stop this romantic night.  Columbia hit a record 109 on Friday which meant the “loft” room I reserved was a tad warm upon check-in… the thermostat in our sweet retreat room read 90..  We ended up moving to a smaller but cooler room.  Adapt.  And move on.  Good mommy’s do that.

I highly recommend overnight dates!  Even just a few miles from home.  You can truly get away from all the things that pull you in opposite directions from your spouse.  You can focus on each other and stay in “date mode” longer.  After champagne and strawberries, we walked to the restaurant from the hotel, had a lovely meal, and enjoyed the stroll back afterward.  No getting in the car and driving home to kid chaos.

Ellie Kate is a Squatch. Jake has a box on his head. And GA is just done. Mommy radar is always on.

I have to admit I was still checking on the kids until I knew they were all safe at home for the night.  The mommy radar is always on and maybe that is what has promoted my pragmatic mode for all these years; but every once in a while I can push that mommy out of the way and support my inner romantic.  If you are a mommy, and you are tired, that means you need a date too.  Just do it.

The Classic

First dates are unique.  There is nervousness, anticipation, and anxiety about what to expect.  Then, of course, there are all the questions;  “what do I wear?”,  “where will we go?”,  “what if he tries to kiss me?”, “what if we don’t have anything to talk about?”, and the list could go on.  I remember my first date with Kev.  May 6, 1983.  Apparently it took a long time, and a lot of encouragement from his sister Jody for Kev to muster the nerve to ask me out.  We double dated with Jody and her boyfriend because Kev only had his learners permit!  Our first date was the “classic” dinner and a movie; you can’t go wrong with dinner and a movie: T.G.I. Fridays, (the original T.G. I. Fridays that doesn’t exist anymore on Elliston Place in Nashville TN.)  Then it was on to see Tootsie at Melrose theater (also no longer in existence).

Well,  our “First Date” for this new year’s resolution came with some of the same questions, but the main question was, “where will we go?”  Do we start the year off with a bang and do something outrageous like the Belly dance Burlesque Festival of Doom?  What about a USC basketball game?  Or, what about grabbing something to eat at a Food Truck Rodeo?  We were overwhelmed with our choices.  Planning a date with forethought and intention was a stress producer, and quite frustrating.  In the last eighteen years dates have been last minute affairs governed by the social calendar; not intentionally planned for each other’s company.

So we went with the “classic”: dinner and a movie.  We chose our “go to” restaurant, Garibaldi, and had an absolutely wonderful meal while seated at the bar.  I can tell you that our appreciation for good food and drink has certainly matured since T.G.I. Fridays.  If you’re going out to eat, make it count!  The cornmeal battered oysters, lettuce wedge with homemade dill dressing, pan seared grouper with lemon/Dijon/mushroom sauce and rainbow trout almandine were a treat for all the senses.  As we ate the night away we discussed our children (yes, our children were a topic of discussion), our dreams, our future and our past.   I must say I probably enjoyed Tootsie (May 6, 1983) better than The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (and I definitely would not recommend it for a REAL first date), but that really didn’t matter.  Sitting in the movie theater eating candy after a great conversation-filled meal made for a “classic” evening.

It seems apropos that our first date of the New Year would reflect our very first date.  And, while I planned what to wear, I didn’t really worry about whether he would kiss me or if we would have anything to talk about.  The butterflies of the very first date in the 80’s have grown into a deep seated comfort and love that warms me now like a fire on a cold winter’s night.

If you are reading this, you are probably married or have a significant other. Whether the “butterflies” for your spouse have been crowded out by the daily stresses of life or even replaced with emotional numbness, anger, resentment, frustration, and disappointment…try dating each other again.  No, it may not solve every problem, but the result of an evening intentionally planned and joyfully executed may bring back something even better than butterflies.