It’s not often my husband and I get a break from the kids. In our tenure as parents, we’ve hired a babysitter a grand total of one time, reserving the balance of our limited childfree adventures for family members. So when my parents offered to take the kids for three nights over their holiday break, we jumped at the chance to shuck our parental responsibilities. Now, don’t get me wrong, we absolutely adore our kids. They’re quite simply the greatest young people we know, but everyone deserves a vacation sometimes — including them. And three days without kids? What’s that even like? How would we spend our time? How should we spend our time? A mini romantic getaway? Serious DIY home reno? Seventy-two hours of glorious and uninterrupted sleep? The possibilities were endless!
As the kid drop-off day grew closer, my husband and I grew ever giddy. With Christmas just barely behind us and New Year’s ahead, we decided we wouldn’t waste our sweet freedom binge-watching delicious TV, but rather make the effort to go on three bona fide dates where we’d talk about interesting things, get to know each other again outside of our daily grind, and maybe even make out a little (or a lot)!
So what do three dates in three days look like once you’ve been married for 16 years? I hereby invite you ride along as the third wheel to find out!
Date one: Tuesday night
2:00pm: What am I doing to wear? Hmm, this dress that looks like a couch from the 70s, but I really do like it? Was this the dress I wore for our anniversary? Checks Instagram. Yes, yes it was. Maybe I’ll wear this Mad Men-looking thing. I guess it fits if I don’t make any sudden movements.
2:39pm: Tries on three more dresses and an assortment of shoes.
3:05pm: What time is it? Ack! I’m late! Settles on original dress.
3:07pm: My roots are terrible. I look like I haven’t been to the hairdresser in like, three months! Does mental math. Yep, it’s almost been four.
3:32pm: Applies makeup.
3:42pm: Applies more makeup.
3:55pm: He’s already ready. It took him five minutes. Literally.
3:56pm: Cannot get right eyebrow to match the left. Decide to cover right eyebrow with bangs because desperate times.
4:05pm: Struggle putting on black tights.
4:15pm: Snap at husband; knows exactly what time it is. Half-apologize for snapping.\
4:28pm: Him: You look beautiful.
Me: Shut up.
Him: You do. You always do.
4:32pm: Obligatory date night selfie.
4:41pm: Me: So … let’s talk about something interesting.
Him: Um, I had El Pollo Loco for lunch.
4:42pm: Settle on comfortable silence.
5:44pm: We’re here. We toast to three dates in three days, the wonders of being childfree, and to dating more often. Man, this drink is strong.
5:42pm: He’s watching me. I smile. He turns to grab his jacket and accidentally elbows me in the boob. He offers to make it all better. We laugh. He reaches for my hand.
5:50pm: I really am so lucky. This man is easy to love. Wait … he just did his Mick Jagger impression … again? Never mind.
6:00pm: We eat, talk Serial, debate over how you’re not supposed to “ruin” a great steak with A-1 (WHATEVER.), and deliberate on Michael Rockefeller’s murder by a native tribe of New Guinea some 50 odd years ago (don’t ask). Isn’t it romantic?
6:37pm: He pays and excuses himself to the restroom. I peek at the bill because: A) it’s my money, too. B) I’ll see the credit card statement anyway C) I’m nosey like that.
6:38pm: Take a very long drink of my very expensive water and decide our next date should be at Chipotle. Mmm, Chipotle.
6:51pm: Arrive at the theater.
7:00pm: Let’s drink some wine! We pound ’em like a couple of college kids (if college kids drank wine) and toast empty plastic glasses to the glory of worrying about no one other than ourselves. I feel gooooooooood.
7:20pm: Settle in to get kinky!
10:20pm: Arrive back home. Snack on cold spaghetti and tortilla chips. Fall asleep in our clothes while staring at our phones.
Date Two: Wednesday night (New Year’s Eve)
6:32pm: What am I going to wear? Sequin? Glitter? Heels? Sigh. I just wore a dress last night and it was short, so how about jeans and a sweater. ZOMG, jeans sooooooooo tight. Hey, do we have any more sugar cookies?
6:47pm: YouTube “how to cut your own bangs” for the third time in a week. Try new tutorial. Curse the results. Struggle with right eyebrow.
7:35pm: Forced to share sink space with husband. Complain about size of bathroom vanity.
7:40pm: He’s already ready. It took him five minutes. Literally.
8:15pm: On the road. He decides to ignore Google Maps and I pretend to be OK with it.
8:32pm: Arrive at New Year’s party. Stranger completely fills my empty Solo cup with Riesling.
8:43pm: Socialize with strangers. He talks cycling and I feign interest.
9:17pm: My cup is empty. Stranger fills it again. Thank you, kind stranger.
9:22pm: Respond to Boy Wonder’s texts about not packing enough pajama pants. Decide next time he can pack himself.
9:32pm: Introduced to a mom who has kids of similar ages. We talk middle school and karate classes. Husband is nowhere to be found.
10:03pm: Realize parties aren’t really dates as husband is still nowhere to be found.
10:15pm: Spot husband across the room talking to strangers about that blog post.
11:19pm: Snap obligatory NYE selfie.
11:37pm: Dance like the uncoordinated old people we are and secretly pray no one is recording us.
11:42pm: Stranger turned BFF fills my party cup with more wine. Consider making out with said stranger in gratitude. Decide against it.
12:00am: HAPPY NEW YEAR! We “church kiss” because public.
12:01am: Is it too soon to leave? SO TIRED.
Date Three: Thursday
6:02pm: Me: What do you want to do tonight?
Him: I don’t know, what do you want to do tonight?
Me: I don’t care, you decide.
6:35pm: Settle on Netflix and takeout. Totally forget about bangs and right eyebrow. No bathroom vanity sharing required. Throw on hat and yoga pants.
7:15pm: I miss the kids. Not the laundry, not the fighting, not the messes, but the kids. FaceTime.
7:59pm: Me: I want Corner Bakery.
Him: I want Wahoo’s Fish Tacos.
We get both.
8:30pm: Him: I wish I got Corner Bakery.
Me: I wish I got Wahoo’s.
8:37pm: Me: Hey! Friends is on Netflix! Let’s stay up all night!
9:07pm: We move the Friends party to our bedroom and devour our kids’ holiday candy/cookie stash.
9:52pm: Decide this is the best date ever.
10:25pm: Bicker over the thermostat setting.
10:47pm: Attempt to roll him over due to snoring. Fail.
10:57pm: Just one more episode.
11:25pm: Drift off to sleep knowing he’s “my lobster.”
OK, so date number three was a bit of a cop-out, but it was easily my favorite. Sure, date one showed me how glamorous dating could be, and date two reminded me of our younger days, but date three felt most like home. And not only because we were at home. It was easy and comfortable and fun for all the right reasons. Date three wasn’t about money or strong cocktails or mood lighting, it was about him and me and the luxury of a love so broken in. And it was perfect.
Images courtesy of Lori GarciaMore On