"I like dates." This ingenious signature sat under a profile photo of dried dates in a food-related web forum I read a while back. Made me snicker.
But shuffling plates among two picky children at Country Buffet and hustling out to nurse a crying baby in the car while my husband goes shopping next door and returns to change the toddler in the back hatch and then singing Twinkle Twinkle all the way home to calm the still-crying baby (true story!) is not a date. Neither is trying to catch snips of a riveting dvd between stinky diapers, spilled milk, and loud sibling rivalry over the train set. Forget romantic snuggling under a blanket; we can't sit on the couch together five minutes uninterrupted.
Dates were fun before kids came along. Movies and meals dotted the calendar, and often unplanned we simply took off cycling or drove to the library or meandered around the neighborhood hand in hand under evening stars. Most significantly we talked – about our life together, our days, our dreams, what to plant in the vegetable garden, where to go next weekend.
We do go on occasional dates, real ones without kids, but aside from being woefully scarce, they seldom involve meaningful connection. Discussions revolve around meal plans, daily chores, and… the children, of course. Even when they are absent we can't escape from them! And frequently we're too busy complaining to actually hear each other. Perhaps if we went out more often we would exhaust the grumbling and start sharing the joys again.
I still smile when I think about that forum signature. I like dates too. Better put some on the shopping list.
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