Date night

by Lorin Michel Thursday, August 18, 2016 9:52 PM

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, we instituted date night. I think it happened over one particular summer when Justin was little and we spent much of our time shuttling him back and forth to camp and to friends and having his buddies over for sleepovers. We wanted to make sure that we had time for just the two of us, at least once a week. We started going out to dinner on Friday nights, and did so for years. It became a ritual, something to look forward to. And we did. 

When the economy crashed in 2008 we stopped going to dinner because it was too expensive, but we didn’t stop date night. Instead, we started going out on Thursday nights. We had discovered a wine tasting place in Thousand Oaks called The Wineyard. It was a renovated Taco Bell building right on Thousand Oaks boulevard. On Thursdays they invited winemakers from wineries all over the state to come and pour and share their stories. We were introduced to some phenomenal wines that way, and we loved it. There was a regular crowd there on Thursdays and we all got to know one another. It was like a big cocktail party every week that only served wine. 

Then we moved and it became a quest to find some place, any place where we could go on Thursday nights to taste wine. Tucson is not a big tasting town. They’re not as into wine here as other cities, perhaps because it’s not a big town period. We’ve gradually found a couple of places we like to go but none of them are tasting places. They’re usually restaurants that happen to have a nice bar and a good wine list. It works and besides, we pacify ourselves with the knowledge that even if we were still in Oak Park, we wouldn’t have the Wineyard anymore. They closed not too long after we left. We don’t think there was any connection. 

I am a big advocate of couples taking the time to just be together, to get away from the daily routine and grind of that thing we lovingly refer to as life. Kids take a lot of attention and time, rightly so. But if all of your time is devoted to them, I don’t think you’re showing them what a good relationship should look like. You’re showing them drudgery. If kids see that their parents take time for themselves, and do it regularly, then I believe you’re showing them that that is what real life should be. Everybody gets time because it’s important. 

I also believe that if you don’t take time together, once the kids grow and leave – and they will and should do both – then you’ll be left looking at each other blankly. Who are you? What did I ever see in you? Do we even have anything in common anymore? I think that’s a bit of what happened with my own parents. My mom devoted most of her time to raising me and my siblings, and she did so willingly, happily. I think she wanted to be the kind of mother that her own mother wasn’t. But all three of us did what kids do. We grew up. The daily purpose of her life moved out, and she and my dad realized that there wasn’t anything there anymore. They got divorced. 

Kevin and I have been very cognizant of having quality time together. We spend every day together, of course, but that’s different. I’m talking about putting on nicer clothes, and driving somewhere, sitting in a restaurant or bar or a restaurant’s bar, and having a glass of wine, maybe an appetizer. We talk. We laugh. We don’t check mail every two minutes; we don’t look at breaking news. We just be together. And it’s lovely.

Tonight is date night. We’re going to a place called Caffe Torino to have a glass of wine and an appetizer. We’ll wear nicer clothes, I’ll even put on some makeup. We’ll only be gone an hour and a half or so, but it will be enough. And it’s always worth celebrating.

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