This morning, I have decided that while I will take my waking times into the confessional and spill my (late) guts to Fr. E, I am going to stop being upset about them. The whole point, after all, is to spend time with my Darling--who is also my Alarm Clock. So if I get up late because I roll over and fall back asleep after he wakes me, then I'll feel guilty. But if I get up late because he wakes me up at 6:40 instead of 6:25 (like this morning), then I guess I'm OK with it. Using the conventional alarm clock would not be advisable at this point, as my Monkey still sleeps in our room...and having him up with us would mind of make this whole Early Morning With My Darling thing moot, for Pete's sake.
We decided long ago that we wanted to strengthen our marriage, and so we sought the advice of several couples whom we knew to have been happily married for some length of time. (Longer than ten years, I think, was our criteria.) Some people said, "Don't let the sun go down on your anger." Yes. Our children know the same sage advice, and it was something we had already agreed on. Not invalid, just already in place. But one couple of dear friends told us, "Date Night, every week." For them, it was Friday night. They never--and I mean never--schedule anything with anyone else on Friday night. That night is sacred to them, and anyone who knows them knows this hard and fast rule.
So, five years ago, we too began our Date Night. At first it was Thursday nights. Every Thursday was exclusively ours to scheme our grand adventures. We would go out to the chain restaurants (TGIs, Olive Garden--known, safe, reliable) and then maybe go window shopping. As time progressed though, we learned that Date Night can really mean that we just put the kids to bed early and do something together right here at home. Since variety is the spice of life, we definitely took the opportunity to do things differently--sometimes, if it was really balmy outside for instance, we'd take the cribbage board outside to play. Or perhaps we'd play our game of Scrabble upstairs rather than in the living room.
Though Date Night has been moved around on the weekly calendar, at one point moving from Thursday to Wednesday (again with that spicy variety thing, I guess), we've also come to the conclusion that there is not a single night of the week that we can really count on, because we are just so busy. But I make sure to look at the calendar every week and let my Darling know which night we have available...and that night is for us.
Something else has changed about Date Night. We almost always, at this point, use it to go take care of an errand or two. We've discovered that time together is what matters, for Pete's sake, and so grocery shopping or picking up supplies for the addition we're building is perfectly acceptable Date Night stuff
Last week, Date Night ended up being Tuesday. We went to Menard's to look at pocket door material (at which time I fell head over heels for a door with a glass panel...it had a raised design of a leafless tree and the glass was frosted on the inside, shiny on the outside.....oh how I want this door in my new bathroom.....but likely not, as it's just a smidge above what is budgeted for that particular spot....*sigh*.....but it surely was pretty to look at!) and then over to Border Books (where I found a book I've been wanting--The Lamb's Supper by Dr. Scott Hahn--and also ended up getting First Comes Love, also by Hahn, and The Confessions of St. Augustine......GREAT haul!) and then to Shopko, where we picked up one item--a double pack of First Response pregnancy tests.
There's something very romantic, and even almost enchanting about picking up pregnancy tests together. Honestly, we usually throw them in the cart and hope the kids don't notice (the older ones can all read and all know what the word "Pregnancy" implies...I guess I just don't want them to be disappointed). But this time, we didn't even get a cart. We just kind of wandered to the Health and Beauty section and browsed the selection. Can I use this sentence to express how very interesting it is that there is such a wide variety of items onto which we actually tinkle?? But I digress. We made our selection and went straight to the check out. The whole time, I felt like I had just fallen in love with my Darling...I had butterflies in my stomach and couldn't stop smiling. Every time I looked at him, I blushed. It was so romantic--I'm sure that the young man at the checkout was completely embarrassed. Or maybe he's terribly dignified, and so wasn't too mortified after all.
The whole way home, we chatted and giggled together like we were high schoolers out on a third date. (There's no way I'd have been relaxed enough to giggle like that on a first date, and he wouldn't have been that loosened up by the second. I'm sticking with third.) We both knew that as soon as I finished my bottle of Sprite, I'd be in the bathroom, hoping I'd studied hard enough to pass the test.
I must mention here that I had taken two tests the night before. Both had come up positive, but very faint. So faint, in fact, that I actually pried one of them apart so that I could look at the test strip from several different angles without the glare of the protective plastic window. My Darling was ready to call the authorities to have me committed, I think, as I bounced around the room, begging him to see what I knew I saw. In the end, I began to wonder if I was trying too hard to see this little line. Maybe I just so desperately wanted to see it that I was implying it there. Really, though, he was being cautious (like my friend Mary had been) and guarding his heart--and attempting to guard mine as well. He is a treasure beyond price, to be sure.
When I finished, er, peeing, I set the test down and vowed not to watch the slow, agonizing journey of the thing. I set about swiping out the sink, straightening up the bath mat, putting away bath toys and changing the hand towel, all the while trying desperately not to glance in the direction of the blasted little plastic cartridge that could stand between me and euphoric happiness. I finished changing the toilet paper roll and putting a new bag in the garbage can. By this time, the test was complete, and as that fat pink second line registered in my brain, I immediately began to smile, cry, laugh and nearly puke all at once. I practically sprinted the twenty feet between the bathroom door and my Darling's spot on the couch, lunged at him and cried, "You won't have to pretend to see this one!" He didn't, indeed. Because he is a Strong Man, he merely held me, wordless, with a big smile on his face. Eventually he pulled away a bit and said, "Well I guess I'd better get that addition done before December." Good man.
I think that's the most romantic Date Night we've ever had. I have no idea what's in our future--romance is definitely important to us, and I'm sure my Darling will surprise me every now and again, but this one will live in my memory for years to come.
Last night we went grocery shopping. Although produce holds it's own certain charm, it may never evoke the same romantic feelings for me as the Health and Beauty section of Shopko.